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The Rochester Knighthawks (3-6), returning from a bye week, were seeking their second straight win hosting the first-place Buffalo Bandits (8-1) in one final go-around at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena. The Knighthawks were 0-3 all-time against Buffalo after dropping the previous two matchups with the Bandits this season. In their last meeting on Feb. 5, Rochester entered the fourth quarter trailing 10-4, but four straight goals put the Bandits on their heels. The NLL’s top team was able to survive the late push and hung on for an 11-8 win at KeyBank Center.
Buffalo has been atop the league standings since day one, winning seven of their eight games while outscoring the opposition 104-78 over that span. After opening the season with a six straight wins, the Bandits suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of the Toronto Rock before getting right back in the win column thanks to a 13-8 win over Albany at KeyBank Center this past Friday.
The goalie match-up had Matt Vinc in net for the Bandits, facing Rylan Hartley in goal for the Knighthawks.
As always, the Knighthawks played the Bandits tough, but weren’t able to hold on for four quarters. A second half explosion broke the game open, and while Rochester tried to battle back, the lead was just too daunting.
Buffalo won the game handily 14-8.
To the game…
Chase Fraser (1g,3a) opened the scoring for Buffalo just 0:33 seconds in when he converted a Dhane Smith pass, but Ryan Smith (3g,1a) tied it up for the Knighthawks off a Chrs Willman pass at 1:50. Dhane Smith (3g, 5a) gave Buffalo the lead once again at 4:54, but Matt Gilray (1g,0a) scored in transition for the Knighthawks just 0:14 seconds later to tie the game up again.
The Bandits regained the lead when Tehoka Nanticoke (3g,0a) fired a Chase Fraser pass past Rylan Hartley at 6:30, then increased the lead in transition when Ian MacKay (1g,0a) scored off a Connor Fields pass at 8:04. Turner Evans (1g,2a) converted a Holden Cattoni pass at 12:16 to bring the Knighthawks within one goal.
After one quarter, Buffalo 4 Rochester 3.
Buffalo got the ball rolling quickly in the second when Connor Fields (3g,1a) converted a Chris Cloutier pass at 0:33 seconds, but Holdan Cattoni (1g,2a) scored on the power play for the Knighthawks at 13:36 off a Turner Evans pass to keep this a one goal game heading to the half.
At the half, Buffalo 5 Rochester 4.
This quarter had the Bandits pull away from the Knighthawks for good.
Dhane Smith opened the third quarter scoring converting a Josh Byrne feed on the power play at 3:12. The Bandits increased their lead again on the power play when Connor Fields finished a Dhane Smith pass at 6:09, and again when Justin Robinson (1g,0a) buried a Kevin Brownell pass in transition at 8:08.
After three quarters, Bandits 8 Knighthawks 4.
Tehoka Nanticoke opened the fourth quarter scoring when he converted a pass from Josh Byrne at 1:08. Kyle Buchanan (1g,1a) converted a Dhane Smith pass just 0:26 seconds later, followed by Dhane Smith himself scoring off a Chris Cloutier pass at 3:40.
Rochester finally stopped the Bandits run with a run of their own. Bertrand (1g,0a), Hoggarth (1g,1a), and Ryan Smith with two tightened the game to 11-8, but that was as close as they would come.
Tehoka Nanticoke scored a beauty from his belly out front of the crease at 10:41, followed by Connor Fields finishing a Dhane Smith pass at 12:27.
Tempers starting to boil over, sending a slew of players to the penalty box.
A penalty shot was awarded to the Bandits. Max Adler (1g,0a) was chosen to take it. Adler beat Rylan Hartley to the shortside for his first ever NLL goal.
Final score, Buffalo 14 Rochester 8.
The Three Stars
- First Star: Dhane Smith
- Second Star: Josh Byrne
- Third Star: Ryan Smith
- Shots on Goal were 60-49 in favor the Knighthawks.
- Rochester had a slight edge in faceoffs 14-12
- Both teams were perfect on the power play. Buffalo went 2-0, while Rochester went 3-0
- Dhane Smith 3g, 5a
- Josh Byrne 0g, 8a
- Connor Fields 3g, 1a
- Ryan Smith 3g,1a
- Holdan Cattoni 1g, 2a
- Turner Evans 1g, 2a
Buffalo’s next game is in Albany against the FireWolves on Saturday March 5th.
Rochester’s next game is Friday night March 4th in Georgia against the Swarm.
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 10 years ago. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob had 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).
Mr. Groob 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.