By Alex Pagliano - Bandits.com
After a season-opening loss to Philadelphia, the Buffalo Bandits have been on quite a roll.
They’ll look to expand their current winning streak to six games Saturday night when they travel down the I-90 to face the Rochester Knighthawks at 7:30 p.m. at Blue Cross Arena.
“[Being] 6-1 sounds a lot better than 5-2,” Bandits defenseman Glen Bryan said. “That has to be the way that we approach Saturday’s game.”
The 5-1 start marks the team’s best start since 2009. The 2009 team started 7-1, but finished the season with a record of 10-6.
The two teams met previously on Jan. 25. Buffalo maintained control over 55:04 of play en route to an 11-10 victory. Buffalo led 11-5 with 4:54, but Rochester (3-2) closed late. The Knighthawks went on a 5-0 run over the next 3:51 to set up an important draw with 19 seconds left. Jay Thorimbert won the draw and Rochester was unable to post a shot on Anthony Cosmo, who stopped 46 of 56 shots.
Buffalo will be without Andrew Watt, who recorded an assist in the Jan. 25 win. Watt was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday.
“I think he separated his shoulder,” Bandits assistant coach Dan Teat said.
The transaction prompted transition player Mitch Wilde to be moved to the active roster. The rookie could make his NLL debut on Saturday.
“Mitch brings a bunch of things to the table that we really like,” Teat said. “He’s come further and further along. He brings crazy speed out of the back end and he has a cannon for a shot. You don’t miss a beat having him out there on either end.”
Rochester returns to action after an 8-7 overtime loss to unbeaten Edmonton on the road last Saturday. After two road losses, Rochester returns to Blue Cross Arena, where the team has not lost this season (3-0). With six of the team’s next eight games on the road, Rochester coach Mike Hasen underscored the importance of winning at home.
“We just have to be prepared,” Hasen said. “And, we just have to be ready to compete from the start.”
Rochester should have Dan Dawson back on the floor on Saturday. The veteran posted four points (2+2) at Edmonton last Saturday. He missed the second half of the Jan. 25 contest against Buffalo with an apparent injury.
Buffalo and Rochester square off a total of four times over the duration of the season. Buffalo next returns to Rochester on Apr. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Their final meeting of the season is on April 26 in Buffalo.