Bandits Outlast Knighthawks

Gary Groob
All Lacrosse All The Time  – A Division of Edge of Philly Sports Network

Buffalo returned home following a season-long three-game road swing, during which it went to 2-1. After coming up short to Rochester on Jan. 20, the Bandits responded with back-to-back wins over Philadelphia and New York in the same weekend to keep pace with the Knighthawks in the NLL’s Eastern Conference standings.

Buffalo returned home with the league’s top two point-getters in reigning NLL MVP Dhane Smith and perennial goal-scorer Josh Byrne, who rank first and second in the league in scoring, respectively.  The Knighthawks answered with Connor Fields, Holden Cattoni, and Ryan Smith, who have all had great seasons to this point.

The goalie match-up had Matt Vinc in net for the Bandits facing Rylan Hartley in net for the Knighthawks.

The Rochester Knighthawks (6-2) carried a 5-4 lead into halftime only to see it slip away on the heels of a second-half surge by the Buffalo Bandits (7-2), who erupted for seven third-quarter goals on their way to handing the Knighthawks a 13-10 loss Saturday at KeyBank Center.  Dhane Smith (4g,6a) pieced together a 10-point night, while Dalton Sulver (2g,0a) and Brad McCulley (2g,3a) each scored twice in the win, which moved Buffalo into sole possession first place in the NLL’s Eastern Conference standings.  Connor Fields (3g,4a), Ryan Smith (3g,3a), and Curtis Knight (2g,1a) led the Knighthawks in the losing cause.

To The Game:

The Bandits opened the game’s scoring when Dalton Sulver converted a Brandon Robinson pass at 6:06.  Thomas Hoggarth tied the game up on the power play, finishing off a Holden Cattoni feed at 13:00.  Ryan Smith gave Rochester their format lead of the night with just 0:19 seconds left in the quarter.

After one quarter, Rochester 2 Buffalo 1.

Second Quarter:

The Knighthawks extended their lead scoring three quick goals.  Connor Fields beat Matt Vinc off a Ryan Smith pass just 0:23 seconds in, followed by Curtis Knight scoring in transition off a Ryland Rees feed 0:27 seconds later.  Fields scored again converting a Ryan Smith pass on the power play at 3:55, increasing the Knighthawks lead to 5-1.

Buffalo started their comeback with a three goal run leading into halftime.

Dhane Smith scored two for the Bandits.  The first was converted from a Brad McCulley feed at 9:48, followed by a transition goal oof a Steve Priolo pass at 11:04.  Dalton Sulver scored his second of the game off a Brandon Robinson pass at 13:41, and the deficit was just one heading into halftime.

At the half, Rochester 5 Buffalo 4.

Third Quarter:

The Bandits stormed out in the third on a mission.  Steve Priolo tied the game in transition off a Dylan Robinson feed at 2:10, followed by Brandon Robinson scoring off a Dhane Smith pass at 3:28.  Bryce Sweeting scored 0:22 seconds laterto give the Bandits a two goal lead.

Ryan Smith got one back for the Knighthawks, but a four goal Bandits run would end the quarter.  Ian MacKay would score again in transition at 9:13, followed by Tehoka Nanticoke from in close on the power play at 10:40. 

Brad McCulley increased the Bandits lead to four, off a Dhane Smith pass at 11:17, followed by Smith himself finishing off a Tehoka Nanticoke pass at 12:49.

After three quarters, Bandits 11 Knighthawks 6.

Fourth Quarter:

Rochester gave a good effort to get back in the game scoring two quick goals to start the quarter.  Ryan Smith scored his third of the game off a Connor Fields pass at 1:23, followed by Fields himself scoring just 0:29 seconds later, narrowing the score to 11-8.

Dhane Smith continued his big night scoring his fourth of the night off a Brad McCulley feed at 2:22.  Curtis Knight got it back for Rochester at 4:36.  Brad McCulley increased the Bandits lead again at 11:58.  Holden Cattoni scored one more for the Knighthawks with just 0:20 seconds left, but it just wasn’t enough on this night

Final score, Buffalo 13 Rochester 10.

The Three Stars:

1. Dhane Smith
2. Connor Fields
3. Brad McCulley

Game Stats:

Shots on goal were even at 57 a piece.

Buffalo won the faceoff battle 15-12.

Loose balls went Rochester’s way 83-72.

The Knighthawks were 2 for 3 on the power play, while Buffalo went 1 for 1.

Top Scorers:

Rochester Knighthawks:

Connor Fields 3g, 4a
Ryan Smith 3g, 3a
Holden Cattoni 1g, 3a

Buffalo Bandits:

Dhane Smith 4g, 6a
Brad McCulley 2g, 3a
Tehoka Nanticoke 1g, 3a

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Gary Groob
Gary Groob

Gary Groob has been involved with Lacrosse for the majority of his life, whether playing, coaching, or covering the sport for the media.

An avid fan, with a real drive about helping to “grow the game”, Gary became part of podcasts about the game in 2010. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob was given an opportunity to write about lacrosse, and the rest as they say, is history.

Through many miles (flying and driving) Gary has made inroads with the National Lacrosse League, Major Series Lacrosse League, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, as well as the Arena Lacrosse League, covering the leagues, their teams, and players, working for, and in concert with all of them.

In the year 2020, Mr. Groob was made the media person for the Arena Lacrosse League, voted onto the board of directors of the Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club, as well as being made administrator of the Lacrosse page “Global Lacrosse” with a membership of 9000 members in over 90 Countries. Gary was also made an administrator of Lacrosse History Past Present and Future in 2022.

Mr. Groob co-hosts a weekly Lacrosse show on Spanglish Sports World, and ZingoTV channel 250, as well as writes a weekly lacrosse column for La Portada Canada News (both in print, and online).

Gary also hosts a Lacrosse talk show and podcast for The Edge of Philly Sports Network, seen live Sunday nights at 9pm (ET), and archived on the Edge of Philly YouTube page, as well as Spotify.

Mr. Groob’s other sports interests include Hockey, Football, Boxing, Wrestling, and Baseball, competing competitively in Boxing and Wrestling for many years.