The Buffalo Bandits (3-3) will look to snap a two-game losing streak Saturday night, as they travel to Rochester for the second time this season to take on the Rochester Knighthawks (3-3). This is the third of four times the two teams will meet this season.
The second time was last Saturday, when the Bandits dropped a 15-7 decision at the hands of the Knighthawks, who are on a three-game winning streak, at the First Niagara Ceneter. The last time the Bandits were in the Blue Cross Arena, however, they were on the winning side of a 14-13 game that saw Tracey Kelusky score the go-ahead goal with just 12 seconds left in the game.
“No question we’re excited for Saturday night. [Rochester] came into our arena and pushed around pretty good,” Bandits transition player David Brock said. “This weekend, we definitely need to execute a little better and we need to focus and stay with our game plan.”
“We’re looking for consistency, but we know the Bandits weren’t at their best last weekend,” Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen said. “We have all the respect for them and we know that they are going to come out even harder to prove a point.”
Bandits head coach Darris Kilgour believes that the team needs to bring a higher compete level to each game in order to better execute the game plan.
“We need to play with more energy and more urgency. In all areas, I think we need to compete at a higher level,” Kilgour said. “We talked about it at practice this week, and I think the guys are ready for a challenge.”
Kilgour said that there will be more lineup changes this weekend, although he did not specify what those changes were. With captain John Tavares sidelined with a calf injury again, Kligour said he will continue to make changes until he finds the right combination.
“Obviously, we weren’t happy with the outcome of the game. We’re definitely going to be putting some different guys in there,” Kilgour said. “We’ll be putting guys in and out all year until we find the lineup that is mostly cohesive.”
One constant for the Bandits has been the offensive contributions of forward Shawn Williams, who continues to pace the team in points. Although he was held without a point last weekend, he has 21 points in six games this season.
Another positive for the Bandits this season has been the transition game. David Brock believes that is because Kilgour has given the transition players more of an opportunity to attack.
“In my eyes, it’s the direction the game is going,” Brock said. “It’s an area where we can be successful. We’ve got some good athletes in the defensive end who can really push the ball up the floor. Until Darris tells me to pull the ball out and slow the ball down, I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing and walking in and shooting.” Brock added two goals in the loss last weekend and has six so far this season.
For the Knighthawks, Cody Jamieson has been the big gun offensively, leading the team in all offensive categories with 12 goals, 21 assists, and 33 points. He posted nine points in the Knighthawks’ win over the Bandits in the last game between these two.
Goaltender Matt Vinc was also a big difference for the Knighthawks last weekend, making 48 saves, including 32 saves in the first half. He is second in the NLL with 259 saves and tied for second with a 10.12 goals against average.
Faceoff for the game is set for 7:30 PM at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester. Fans can watch the game via live webcast on The Lacrosse Network (YouTube.com/TheLacrosseNetwork) or can listen to the game on KB1520 AM.