The Rochester Knighthawks (5-6) continued to be red hot as they handled business easily with a 17-10 win over the Buffalo Bandits (6-4) at KeyBank Center on Saturday night. The win marked Rochester’s third in a row and ended Buffalo’s winning streak at four in front of 15,302 fans.
Buffalo native Joe Resetarits went on a tear and finished with 14 points (3+11) against his former team, including 10 points on the Knighthawks first 11 goals. His 11 assists tied a Knighthawks record and his 14 points set a new career high. Resetarits is also now the NLL’s point leader.
“He’s been putting himself in the right spots on the floor where his teammates are going to find him and he’s been finding the guy that are open. These last couple of weeks, the guy that has been open has been able to capitalize,” said Rochester head coach Mike Hasen of Resetarits. “He’s playing well right now, so we’ll continue to ride his back a little bit.”
The first quarter saw a goaltending battle as no goals were scored until the 7:13 mark when Cody Jamieson beat Alex Buque and gave Rochester a 1-0 lead. Austin Shanks scored on the powerplay and Josh Currier scored shorthanded to give Rochester a 3-0 lead after one frame.
“The first seven or eight minutes, the defense was phenomenal for both sides. We were in the right lanes, we were communicating and pressuring,” said Bandits head coach Troy Cordingley. “Then they got one past us and we got off our game plan for some reason. We gave them time and when you give them time they’ll eat you up, which is what they did.”
The second quarter saw the Knighthawks open up a 7-0 lead on goals from Resetarits, Kyle Jackson, Cory Vitarelli and Resetarits again. The seven goal run to start was just what the doctor ordered for the Knighthawks, but caused much chagrin among the Bandits and took the fans out of the game.
“Putting up three and then continuing to score after that was great,” said Hasen. “With them coming off the bye week, we wanted to take advantage of their slow feet and heavier legs and we did that.”
“We can’t spot teams seven goals,” said Bandits captain Steve Priolo. “Even on our winning streak we were spotting teams four or five goals and coming back. That’s something we have to correct.”
Mitch Jones scored to get Buffalo’s goose egg off the board, but Jackson answered right back. The teams alternated the next six goals and Rochester took an 11-4 lead into the half.
Rochester continued to pour on the goals in the second half. Jake Withers and Jamieson scored for the Hawks. Jordan Durston gave Buffalo two goals on a major powerplay but Jackson answered with two powerplay goals on his own and Rochester built a 15-6 lead.
Buffalo managed to score four of six goals in the fourth quarter, but it was far from enough to mount a comeback. The Knighthawks pocketed a 17-10 victory.
With the win, the Hawks have beaten both first place teams in the NLL in back to back weeks and now sit just 1.5 games behind of the Bandits for first place in the East.
“We’ve been playing our best lacrosse at the right time right now,” noted Hasen. “We’re getting contributions from across the board which is even better.”
Buffalo doesn’t feel like they’re playing their best lacrosse. In fact, they feel like they got away from what gave them success over their four game winning streak.
”I think some of us were reading press clippings on how we’re becoming a real good team and we forgot how to beat other good teams,” noted Cordingley. “We weren’t good tonight, in any area, faceoffs, defense, offense, loose balls, we were not good. We were outworked”
The Bandits will travel to Colorado to face the Mammoth on March 3rd at 9:00P.M. EST and the Knighthawks will host the Georgia Swarm on March 10th at 7:30P.M. EST.
Three Stars of the Game as Selected by the Media:
1 – Joe Resetarits
2 – Kyle Jackson
3 – Matt Vinc