The Buffalo Bandits picked up a dominating win over rival Rochester Knighthawks Saturday night, with the orange and black showing their prowess by a score of 13-4. This moves the Bandits to 3-1, while Rochester is now at 1-1.
“You play with emotion, but you don’t play emotional,” said Bandits Co-Head Coach Rich Kilgour. “You got to remember what the focus is, and the focus is to when the game.”
Kilgour’s Bandits certainly did play a very reserved game. Traditionally when playing against Rochester, the Hawks have a way of getting under the skin of the Bandits, which leads to penalties. However, this game was vastly different, as Rochester took 23 penalty minutes on the night compared to Buffalo’s 18 minutes in the box.
But not only did the Bandits defense led by captain Steve Priolo limit penalty minutes, they also came up big when they did go man down. Despite getting nine chances, Rochester was only able to capitalize on the powerplay once, when Cody Jamieson snuck one past former longtime teammate Matt Vinc mid-way through the fourth quarter.
“It was a different type of game for me tonight,” said the Knighthawk-turned-Bandit Vinc. “I’m just thankful for how we played as a team. I think all facets of the game we executed, and we really showed the type of lacrosse we can play when we’re firing on all cylinders.”
Vinc came up big for the Bandits between pipes. The St. Catherines native allowed just four goals, which ties a franchise record for fewest allowed goals in a game. To cap that off, Vinc also broke Anthony Cosmo’s previous record for all-time saves leader.
“Last week was me just trying to get my first home win as a Bandit,” said Vinc. “And now this week was me trying to get a win against a team that I know a lot about.”
Vinc was the backstop to a Bandits penalty kill unit that Coach Kilgour had nothing but praise for.
“They were just great tonight, and it helps having a goalie like that [Vinc] back there,” said Kilgour. “You can trust that if you give up an outside shot, that he’s going to stop most of them. So while we were a man short, we played with a lot of confidence.”
Not only did the defense come out to play for the orange and black, so did the offense. With a lot of teams, they have one or two “guys,” players that are the centerpiece of a given offensive unit, but last night the Bandits were able to space their scoring prowess. On the night, no Bandit had more than two goals.
“I think that’s the unique thing about our offense compared to other teams in the league,” said Bandits forward Corey Small. “We got five weapons out on the floor everytime we stop on. We’re playing unselfish, and teams don’t know who’s going to shoot the ball or have the opportunity.”
Forward Dhane Smith finally returned to Buffalo’s line-up, this after missing the last two games with a lower body injury. It looked as if he didn’t miss a beat, scoring Buffalo’s first goal of the game 4:18 in. Later on in the second half he added another, while also putting up two assists.
Buffalo will now head onto a one week break before returning for a home game against the Philadelphia Wings. The Knighthawks will look to bounce back, as they travel out west next week for a road game against San Diego.