Buffalo Bandits (NLL)


1/5/2019 11:27:00 PM / Nick Konotopskyj 

The Buffalo Bandits led wire-to-wire and tied a franchise record for fewest goals allowed on Saturday in their 13-4 win over the Rochester Knighthawks at KeyBank Center. 

Buffalo is now winners of back-to-back games and improves to 3-1 on the season.

Goalie Matt Vinc hit another milestone on Saturday, becoming the NLL’s all-time saves leader with 7,273 saves in 208 career games. Vinc stopped 55 of 59 Knighthawks shots on Saturday. 

“I’m really happy for Matt [Vinc] to get that accomplishment and to beat his old team,” head coach Rich Kilgour said. “It’s a really great night for the Bandits and especially for Matt.”

Shawn Evans had five points on the night (3+2) while three different Bandits were tied with four points each (Josh Byrne, Corey Small and Dhane Smith). 

“I’m just thankful for how we played as a team,” Vinc said. “I think we executed in all facets of the game and we really showed the kind of lacrosse we can play when we’re firing on all cylinders.” 

After missing the first two home games of the season, Smith opened the scoring for the Bandits just over four minutes into the game. Evans made it 2-0 with his power-play goal before Rochester’s Darryl Robertson added the first Knighthawk goal to cut the lead in half. 

Small made it 3-1 Buffalo when he added the Bandits’ second power-play goal in the quarter. Overall, Buffalo was 2-for-3 on the power play in the first quarter and the Bandits took that same 3-1 lead into the second. 

Small was at it again early in the second quarter when, on the power play, he added another goal to put the Bandits ahead 4-1. Rochester ended up taking five penalties before halftime and 10 penalties overall. 

On the flip side, the Knighthawks had multiple power play chances of their own, but they were only able to generate two goals in the first half.

“We have a saying to play with emotion, but don’t play emotional,” Kilgour said.  “When you play emotional then anything will get you mad and want to fight. You have to remember where the focus is and that focus is to win the game. You’re not going to win playing 4-on-5 all night.” 

The Bandits entered halftime with a 5-2 lead thanks to captain Steve Priolo scoring on a breakaway goal with less than five seconds left. 

Thomas Hoggarth carried that momentum into the second half, scoring six seconds in to expand the Bandits lead.

After the Knighthawks scored their first goal of the half to make it 8-3, Chase Fraser and Dhane Smith added goals for Buffalo to up the lead heading into the fourth quarter. 

Priolo, who notched his 100th career assist on Saturday and also added a second goal in the fourth quarter, made note of how the team continues to gain chemistry as the season gets close to the quarter pole. 

“You try to spend as much time getting to know each other and getting used to each other’s tendencies, but the best way to be doing that is by playing,” he said. “Without a training camp, you’re thrown in the mix right away. Adjustments come along the way and you start to get comfortable with each other and you get a game like tonight.”

The Bandits enter their first bye week of the season with a 3-1 record. They will be back in action on Sat., Jan. 19 against the Philadelphia Wings at KeyBank Center. Faceoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. 

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