After leading 5-0 at halftime, the Rochester Knighthawks (4-2) held on for a 9-6 win in the 'Thruway Rivalry' over the visiting Buffalo Bandits (5-2) before a crowd of 9,280 at Blue Cross Arena on Saturday night.
The first quarter of the game was dominated by the goalies. Matt Vinc for the Knighthawks pitched a shutout, highlighted by numerous saves on the doorstep. Anthony Cosmo's performance for the Buffalo Bandits was no less splendid, only spoiled by Joe Walters' shorthanded goal at 10:31, assisted by Dan Dawson. That goal marked the latest opening goal in an NLL game so far this season.
In the Knighthawks scored four times in less than four minutes, getting started with Mike Accursi scoring at 8:46, assisted by Cody Jamieson. Cory Vitarelli then scored twice, first at 10:06 with assists from Joel McCready and Cody Jamieson, then against at 11:38 assisted by McCready again. Dawson finished the scoring at 12:39 in transition with assists from Brad Self and Vinc. The Knighthawks went into halftime with the 5-0 lead, marking the first team in Bandits team history that they've been shut out in the first half.
Buffalo stormed back as Mark Steenhuis opened the scoring in the third quarter at 8:39 with assists from Ryan Benesch and Jamie Rooney. Benesch then scored at 9:22 with assists from Dhane Smith and Kevin Brownell. Then at 11:32, John Tavares scored with a behind-the-back bouncer from Smith and Steenhuis. At 12:09, Joe Resetarits scored with assists from Benesch and Shawn Williams to bring the score to 5-4, Knighthawks. Cody Jamieson then halted the Bandits run at 14:49 with a power play goal. The score would remain 6-4 at the end of the third.
Vitarelli extended Rochester's lead to 7-4 at 1:06 into the fourth with an assist from Joel McCready. The Bandits then brought the game back within two on a goal from Chad Culp at 3:53 with an assist from Anthony Cosmo. Accursi then brought the lead back to three at 5:04 with assists from Jamieson and Dawson. McCready then extended the lead to 9-5 at 9:12 with an assist from Dawson. Benesch scored on the power play at 13:19 with an assist from Williams, but penalty trouble for the Bandits would end any chance of a comeback.