By Jeff Baker - Bandits.com
The Buffalo Bandits’ road troubles at Blue Cross Arena continued as the Rochester Knighthawks raced out to an early 5-0 lead and never looked back in a 21-11 win over their East Division rivals on Saturday night.
Matt Vinc shined in net for the Knighthawks with 55 saves, including the first 10 shots he faced, to help Rochester get off to a fast start in a game in which they never trailed.
Kyle Jackson opened the scoring 25 seconds in and finished with four goals while Dan Dawson, Joe Resetarits and Cory Vitarelli each contributed a hat trick for the Knighthawks, who stayed hot offensively following their 17-goal output in the season opener.
After starting netminder Alex Buque was pulled once the Bandits went down 4-0 midway through the first quarter, backup Davide DiRuscio was injured 30 seconds later while attempting to stop Jackson’s second goal of the night. Buque returned to the crease and finished with 29 saves.
Mitch Jones led the way for the Bandits with five points (3+2), including the team’s first two goals to cut the Rochester lead to 5-2 after the first quarter. Rookie Chase Fraser scored twice as the only other multi-goal scorer for Buffalo.
Fellow first-year pro Josh Byrne scored with 3:49 remaining in the second quarter to pull the Bandits within 9-5, but the Knighthawks responded with four quick goals, including Vitarelli’s diving effort to beat the buzzer, for a 13-5 halftime lead.
The teams traded goals in the second half with Buffalo unable to string together enough goals to threaten Rochester’s commanding lead, which grew to 17-8 after three quarters.
Dhane Smith had one goal on 15 shots for the Bandits, adding a team-high three assists and game-high 12 loose balls. Buffalo defenseman Steve Priolo recorded three points (1+2) and 11 loose balls.
Knighthawks defenseman Billy Dee Smith saw his first action against his old team as the former Bandits captain registered one loose ball and one caused turnover.
An announced crowd of 7,272 saw Buffalo drop its third-straight road game to the Knighthawks with losses in eight of their last nine outings in Rochester.
The Knighthawks (2-0) fell just two goals shy of tying the franchise’s single-game record and have scored a combined 38 goals in their first two games.
Buffalo will take on Rochester three more times this season, again on the road in their next meeting on Feb. 3, before hosting their interstate rival twice to close out the season series.
The Bandits (1-1) next visit the Toronto Rock for a rematch of Buffalo’s Week 1 win on Saturday, Dec. 31 before the team returns home to face the Calgary Roughnecks on Saturday, Jan. 6.