The new edition of the Rochester Knighthawks (1-6) traveled to Buffalo to renew their rivalry with the Bandits (5-1) on Friday night at the KeyBank Center. Rochester has had growing pains in their expansion year, but have played very competitively most of the year. Holden Cattoni, Shawn Evans, Turner Evans and Curtis Knight have led the way for Rochester. The Buffalo Bandits have been rolling along, with a powerful offense in Josh Byrne, Dhane Smith, Corey Small and Chase Fraser, as well as the stellar goaltending of Matt Vinc. The game was intense from start to finish, with both teams going on extended runs until the end of regulation. In overtime, a well set up play by the Bandits, had Corey Small alone to bury his shot for the victory 16-15 in front of 10,978 fans.
The Bandits opened very quickly when Chris Cloutier (4g,4a) converted a Dhane Smith pass at 1:39. The Knighthawks thought they had tied the game when Phil Caputo scored, but upon review, it was shown that his foot was in the crease and it was deemed no goal. Buffalo increased the lead when Josh Byrne (2g,4a) scored on Smith’s feed at 6:40. Shawn Evans cut the lead in half when he converted a Holden Cattoni pass at 7:28, but Dhane Smith (4g,7a) himself scored off a Nick Weiss pass at 9:32. Josh Byrne scored his second of the night just 0:32 seconds later unassisted, followed by Garrett Billings (1g,2a) converting a Matt Spanger feed at 13:08.
After one quarter, Buffalo 5 Rochester 1.
The second quarter had Rochester score first when phil Caputo (2g,2a) fired a Cory Highfield pass in at 1:22, followed by Turner Evans (2g,2a) scoring off a Shawn Evans pass on the powerplay at 2:42, making the score 5-3 in favor of the Bandits.
Corey Small (2g,0a) stopped the mini run, scoring off a Dhane Smith pass at 4:47.
At that point the Knighthawks made a goaltender switch putting Steve Fryer in net.
Both teams went end to end throughout the quarter, getting excellent opportunities, but strong defenses and good goaltending by Matt Vinc (Buffalo Goalie) and Steve Fryer kept the score at 6-3.
The Bandits got one more before the half when Chase Fraser (1g,1a) converted a Dhane Smith pass at 14:17.
At the half, Buffalo 7 Rochester 3.
In the third quarter the Knighthawks finally had a dominant quarter.
Holden Cattoni (3g,6a) scored on the powerplay firing into the top corner at 0:29 seconds, and then again scoring just 0:14 seconds later on a Dan Lintner pass. Phil Caputo brought the game within one goal when he converted a Holden Cattoni pass at 2:31 on a delayed penalty, and Turner Evans scored his second of the game at 3:57 unassisted, tying the game 7-7.
The Knighthawks, showing no quit, kept pressing.
Curtis Knight gave Rochester their first lead of the night, scoring off a Shawn Evans pass at 5:30, but Matt Gilray (1g,0a) scored for Buffalo off a Bryce Sweeting pass at 7:19, followed by Dhane Smith scoring his second of the night with assists going to Josh Byrne, and Chris Cloutier at 6:35.
Cory Highfield (1g,2a) tied the game again, converting a Turner Evans pass at 8:07, followed by Shawn Evans (4g,3a) firing a laser over Matt Vinc’s shoulder at 12:42. Holden Cattoni scored his third of the night converting a Paul Dawson pass at 14:10 to end the quarter.
After three quarters, Rochester 11 Buffalo 9.
The fourth quarter had Buffalo score two quick goals to tie the game. Dhane Smith converted a Josh Byrne pass at 2:36, followed by Nick Weiss scoring in transition, using Corey Small as a decoy, beating Steve Fryer to tie the game at 3:06.
Rochester stormed back with two by Curtis Knight. His first goal was off a Holden Cattoni pass at 6:45, followed by an unassisted goal at 7:33.
Chris Cloutier got one back for the Bandits at 10:28, but Shawn Evans increased the Knighthawks lead to two goals again at 9:13.
Chris Cloutier again brought the Bandits within one goal at 10:28, then Dhane Smith tied the game on a Matt Spanger pass at 11:08.
Shawn Evans looked to have potted the game winner at 13:11, but with 0:07.1 seconds Chris Cloutier tied the game, sending it to overtime.
After regulation time, Buffalo 15 Rochester 15.
On the powerplay, Corey Small fired a shot into a wide open net for the Buffalo victory at 1:53.
Final score, Buffalo 16, Rochester 15.
Shots on goal was in favor of Rochester 66-50.
The loose ball battle was won handily by the Knighthawks 86-67.
Faceoffs were just about even at 18-17 for Buffalo.
Rochester went 3 for 3 on the powerplay.
Buffalo went 2 for 3 on the powerplay.
The Three Stars
- Holden Cattoni Rochester
- Dhane Smith Buffalo
- Corey Small
Holden Cattoni 3g, 6a
Shawn Evans 4g, 3a
Curtis Knight 3g, 2a
Dhane Smith 4g, 7a
Chris Cloutier 4g, 4a
Josh Byrne 2g, 4a
Rochester’s next game is on Sunday February 9th at home against the Vancouver Warriors. Game time is 2pm.
Buffalo’s next game is on Friday February 7th, at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver against the Warriors. Game time is 10:30pm (EST).
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.