Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bandits beat Knighthawks 11-8

By Alex Hinkley

The Knighthawks lost to the Bandits last night in Buffalo by a score of 11-8. It was a close game between two bitter rivals but the Knighthawks just ran out of gas in the final stretch. Buffalo's well-rounded offense simply proved too much for the Knighthawks defense to contain.

The game was close for awhile. It started off as a defensive struggle as neither team scored until Joey Walters finally put one past Bandit goaltender Mike Thompson about halfway through the first quarter. As if signalling that it was now okay for both teams to start scoring, Brett Bucktooth tied the game up for Buffalo just a few minutes later. Steenhuis then took the lead for the Bandits in the waning moments of the quarter.

Things started to look grim for Rochester as the Bandits opened the second quarter with two goals in under one minute! Luckily Buffalo took a penalty on the next possession. Jordan Hall made them pay with a power play goal which seemed to temporarily kill the Bandits' momentum and Rochester trailed by just two going into halftime.

Once again the Bandits opened the scoring in the third quarter with Brett Bucktooth finding the back of the net for the third time. The Knighthawks rallied with three straight goals off Campbell, Jamieson, and Hall. The game was tied 6-6 going into the final quarter. The K-Hawks managed to take the lead but the goal was called back after a challenge for a crease violation (despite the fact it was clearly past the 20 second time limit). To make matters worse, the Bandits scored on the next possession after the challenge. This seemed to kill the Knighthawks comeback and the Hawks were outscored in the fourth quarter 5-2.

Neither Craig Point or Jarrett Davis played for the Knighthawks last night instead being replaced by Joe Walters and Holdon Vyse on offense. It's unclear why either of these guys were scratched. Being such a close game, Point might have been able to make a difference. Shawn Evans had a down game with just a single assist. On the bright side, Shawn Williams set the Knighthawks franchise assist record with five assists on the night (he needed just two to surpass John Grant). Jordan Hall (3 G, 3 A) and Mike Accursi (1 G, 4 A) also had good games. Matt Vinc made 42 saves.

Mark Steenhuis and Roger Vyse led Buffalo in scoring with 2 goals and 3 assists each. Brett Bucktooth earned the game MVP for his hat-trick. He also assisted on John Tavares' game-winner.

The Knighthawks drop to 5-5 with the loss while the Bandits improved their season record to 5-3. Buffalo will look to take second place in the East from the Boston Blazers when they meet later tonight at 5:00pm EST.

(Originally published on Examiner.com)

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