Dan Dawson’s goal at 1:02 of overtime capped an incredible comeback as the Rochester Knighthawks defeated the Buffalo Bandits 9-8 Saturday afternoon at Connors & Ferris Field at The Blue Cross Arena.
“It was an entertaining game to say the least,” said Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen. “It was tight the whole way through and it was finally nice to be on the right side of things. To get that win and to do it at home was a great feeling.”
With 2.1 seconds left in the game, the Knighthawks’ sixth overall pick, Josh Currier, scored the game-tying goal to send the game into the extra session.
“At this point they’re not rookies anymore,” said Dawson. “There’s no one else coming in and (they’re) here and got some games under their belts. Josh showed such character and poise and there with two defenders on him. He could really be our best player.”
Dawson led the team with five points (1+4), while Kyle Jackson chipped in four (1+3) and Joe Resetarits added three (2+1). Cory Vitarelli also recorded a two-goal effort. Matt Vinc played a stellar first quarter, shutting out Buffalo while the Rochester offense went to work at the other end to take a 2-0 lead. ‘Vno’ finished the game with 44 saves. Vitarelli got on the board first, followed by a bullet from Lomas with just over three minutes left in the frame.
“We talked in the locker room before and just had everyone buy in,” Vinc said. “That’s my job. I made a couple saves early and it’s a lot easier to settle in when we’ve established a little lead and that’s what we did there.”
After nearly 21 minutes of play, Buffalo put up a pair of goals less than a minute apart to tie the game at two but Rochester responded. A nice shot from Resetarits on the power play regained a single-goal lead for the Knighthawks. Buffalo, however, ended the half on a 2-0 run to take a 4-3 lead into halftime.
The teams fought back-and-forth throughout the second half with neither team leading by more than a single goal. With 12.1 left and Dhane Smith with the ball, Rochester’s Scott Campbell caused the turnover. Graeme Hossack then fired a pass to Currier, who eluded Billy Dee Smith, and raced in on goalie Davide DiRuscio. He ripped a shot to the near post to tie the game at eight. Dawson then completed the comeback with the OT winner.
“We’ll take it,” Dawson said, who played in 250th game as a pro. “It was definitely a defensive-minded game with two outstanding performances by the goalies tonight. You knew we were going to fight for goals and we got the one that counted and a much-needed win.”