The Rochester Knighthawks soared past their division rival, the Buffalo Bandits, earning a 21-11 win Saturday night at Connors & Ferris Field at The Blue Cross Arena.
“Everything’s been working in our favor,” said Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen. “Defensively, we’re playing very well. ‘V’ (Matt Vinc) is making those big saves for us and keeping it out. We’re pushing and they’re dropping and offensively we’re moving the ball and moving our feet.”
Vinc had a stellar night between the pipes, finishing with a career-best 55 saves.
“We came out ready to play a full 60 minutes,” he said. “The offense came out rolling and gave us an early lead. It’s a lot easier to play when you’re up five or six early in the game and I think we were able to settle in nicely.”
Four Knighthawks notched hat tricks, as Rochester opened the season 2-0. Kyle Jackson led the team with four goals and added an assist. Dan Dawson (3+6), Joe Resetarits and Cory Vitarelli each posted three goals. Scott Campbell and Eric Fannell netted a pair of goals, while Graeme Hossack, Dylan Evans, Jake Withers and Josh Currier all added single markers.
Jackson’s goal just 25 seconds into the game began a five-goal run for the Knighthawks and they never looked back. Buffalo’s Mitch Jones would put up two goals before the end of the first quarter, but that’s as close as the game would get.
“KJ (Kyle Jackson) has done a lot of things right for us last year,” said Hasen. “I think it’s a little bit easier on him now with ‘Jammer’ (Cody Jamieson) back and it’s all falling into place.”
The game marked the first time since 2013 that the Knighthawks surpassed the 20-goal mark. After two games, Rochester has now outscored its opponents 38-17.
“Credit goes to the entire group for what they’re doing,” said Hasen. “It’s not just one individual. So far it’s been a group effort.”
“It’s great to get the win against Buffalo,” added Vinc. “I hang out a lot with Billy Dee Smith and I know this game meant a lot to him. He’s a big piece of the puzzle. The boys came out hungry and wanted the win for him, but it’s nice to get a division win.”
Next up, Rochester will travel to Georgia on Saturday, Dec. 30 to take on the Swarm in another divisional matchup.