The Rochester Knighthawks nearly completed an incredible fourth-quarter comeback, but finished one goal short to the Buffalo Bandits, 11-10.
Rochester was trying to win the first four games in a season for the first time in team history. It was only the second 3-0 start ever and the first since 1998.
The Knighthawks fell behind 6-2 at half and 10-3 after three, but put together their best offensive quarter of the season and had 18 seconds to try to tie the game and force overtime. Rochester scored seven goals in the final quarter, which included five goals in the last four minutes of the fourth quarter to put pressure on the Bandits.
Trailing 11-5, Stephen Keogh scored on a power-play goal to cut the deficit to five. Joel McCready then netted consecutive goals 1:04 apart. Johnny Powless and Joe Walters each added goals, the latter with just over 18 seconds left. Buffalo, however, won the ensuing faceoff and ran out the clock to secure the win.
Cody Jamieson scored a team-high six points (3+3), followed by McCready with five (3+2). Jamieson's goal in the second quarter was his 100th career goal, and McCready extended his goal-scoring streak to 10 games. Angus Goodleaf stopped seven of eight shots he faced in the fourth quarter, while Matt Vinc made 25 saves in three quarters of work.
The Bandits' offense and transition was clicking in the first three quarters as they built a 10-3 lead, their largest of the game. John Tavares led the Bandits with four goals, and Buffalo native Joe Resetarits scored three goals with one assist. Buffalo goalie Anthony Cosmo was named the First Star with 46 saves.
The Bandits now hold a one-game lead over Rochester in the East Division. Rochester now sits in second place in the East Division with a 3-1 record, while Buffalo jumps ahead with a 4-1 mark.
Rochester will fly to Edmonton to battle the top team in the West Division on Saturday, February 1st. The game will start at 9pm, Eastern.