By Alex Hinkley
The Rochester Knighthawks closed out their 2011 campaign on a high note with a convincing win over the Buffalo Bandits Saturday night. It was the third win in a row for the Knighthawks who have previously bested the Washington Stealth and the Philadelphia Wings.
Rochester started off the game hot, scoring the first six goals of the game before Buffalo could even get on the board. Backup goaltender Angus Goodleaf started in net for the Bandits but was quickly sent to the pipe after allowing four goals in the first five minutes of the game. Even Mike Thompson couldn't immediately stop the surging Knighthawks and Rochester held a commanding 7-1 lead after the first quarter.
The Knighthawks started to get in a bit of penalty trouble in the second quarter which allowed Buffalo the opportunity to mount a comeback. Thompson allowed just one goal against in the entire second quarter while Buffalo slowly but surely crept back into the game with goals from Tavares, Vyse, and two from Thenhaus. Going into halftime, Rochester's seemingly insurmountable lead had dwindled to 8-5.
Chad Culp opened the scoring in the third quarter to bring the Bandits to within two and suddenly it started to seem as if Buffalo really might be able to erase the early deficit. That was as close as they would get, however, as Rochester unleashed another barrage of goals to extend their lead once again. Head coach Mike Hasen must have had a few words for the K-Hawks at halftime because they did not take another penalty for the rest of the game. The same could not be said of the Bandits who surrendered two power play goals in the fourth quarter.
Leading the Knighthawks was rookie Cody Jamieson (3G, 4A) who was named Game MVP and had a career high 7 points. Shawn Williams (2G, 5A), Mike Accursi (2G, 3A), and Shawn Evans (1G, 4A) also had notable performances. Not to be outdone, first round draft pick Jarrett Davis also completed his first NLL hat-trick.
Seeing the Knighthawks handily defeat the top seeded Buffalo Bandits is an encouraging sign going into the playoffs. The offense will need to keep producing if Rochester hopes to win next week as they play the Toronto Rock in the first round. Toronto defeated Rochester in all three of their regular season meetings this year.
(Originally posted on Examiner.com)