The Rochester Knighthawks (13-4) doubled up their thruway rivals, the Buffalo Bandits (8-9), earning an 8-4 win in front of 8,900 fans at The Blue Cross Arena tonight. The win marked the 100th home win in Knighthawks history.
Matt Vinc and the Rochester defense registered a historic performance, as it held the Bandits to four goals, which tied a Knighthawks' franchise record. An even more impressive stat was the Rochester defense only yielded one even strength goal in 60 minutes of action. It all started in goal with Vinc, who stood tall in goal making 45 saves, including 13 in the first quarter.
Rochester was led offensively by a three-goal, one-assist night from Johnny Powless. Joe Walters also tied a career-high with five assists. Joel McCready and Cody Jamieson both finished with three-point nights (1+2), while Derek Hopcroft, Cory Vitarelli, and Brad Self each recorded one goal and one assist efforts in the win.
Rochester’s quick strike offense broke open a 1-0 game with a 4-0 run in the second quarter. Rochester dominated the second frame as McCready put the Knighthawks on the board 5:27 into the quarter. Then Derek Hopcroft, who was making his Knighthawks debut, scored just 36 seconds later to give the Knighthawks the lead and they never looked back.
Less than two minutes later it was Powless’ turn, scoring his first of three goals at 7:56. He put in his second goal just 26 seconds later to round out the scoring in the first half. On Powless’ second of the quarter, Jamieson earned his 200th career assist.
In the third, Rochester fought off two quick Bandits’ goals with consecutive goals from Brad Self and Powless to make it 6-3. Self rifled a low shot in at 4:53 to help the Knighthawks regain the two-goal lead. Powless followed with his hat trick goal at 9:26 to close out the quarter and give the Knighthawks a 6-3 lead. Dan Dawson earned an assist of the game on
Self’s goal to give him 67 assists this season to tie a Knighthawks’ single-season record.
Just 3:16 into the final frame, Vitarelli banged in a rebound to make it 7-4. Jamieson closed out the scoring at 10:05 by ripping a shot past Cosmo. Rochester’s defense did the rest as countless shots went wide or were knocked away by the efforts of players like Jon Sullivan, Ian Llord and Sid Smith. Smith was even there to keep a rebound from crossing the goal line in the fourth quarter. Buffalo also had to contend with ball hawks Scott and Brad Self, who have made picking off passes a family tradition.
The Knighthawks will conclude the regular season on Saturday, April 26th with a 7:30 p.m. against the Bandits in Buffalo at the First Niagara Center.