Buffalo Bandits gameday: Bandits at Rochester Knighthawks - The Buffalo News

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Buffalo Bandits gameday: Bandits at Rochester Knighthawks

Faceoff: 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Online: NLL TV.

Radio: 1520 a.m.

Records: Buffalo 1-0, Rochester 1-0.

Last time out: Both the Bandits and Knighthawks are coming off impressive wins in their openers, with Rochester's being the most lopsided. The Knighthawks smothered the Calgary Roughnecks Saturday, as 11 players scored in a 17-6 victory. Buffalo, which had last weekend off, defeated Toronto 13-9 on Dec. 8.

The I-90 rivalry: Buffalo and Rochester will play four times this season, twice in each city. The Knighthawks lead in the all-time series, 36-26.

First impressions: Alex Buque was strong between the pipes in his first game as a Buffalo Bandit. The 25-year-old tender, acquired in a trade this offseason, made 55 saves on 64 shots against Toronto.

Four players scored in their Bandits debut: Callum Crawford (2), Josh Byrne, Chase Fraser and Jordan Durston.

Points leader: Dhane Smith was the Bandits' main distributor in the opener, scoring a goal and dishing out six assists for a team-leading seven points.

Familiar faces: Four Knighthawks players are former Bandits, including recently-acquired defenseman Billy Dee Smith. The 15-year Bandit and former Buffalo captain signed with the Knighthawks as a free agent this offseason. The list of former Bandits also includes defenseman Ian Llord, forward Joe Resetarits and backup goalie Angus Goodleaf.

Billy Dee Smith set to play against the Bandits for the first time

Back in action: Rochester got a huge boost to its lineup the morning of the Calgary game when the team activated forward Cody Jamieson from the injured reserve list. Jamieson only played in one game last season. He missed the start of the season with a knee injury and didn't last a quarter against Toronto on Jan. 28 before reagrivating it. He missed the rest of the season after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery on a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Jamieson made an impact in his return, notching his 200th career goal and three assists against the Roughnecks.

Another milestone: Rochester goalie Matt Vinc, a Canisius College graduate, passed Bob Watson to move into second place in all-time NLL saves. Now, he only trails former Bandits goalie Anthony Cosmo.

Battle at the X: Jake Withers, the Knighthawks' rookie out of Ohio State, showed he has the skill to be one of the best faceoff men in the league. He won 18 of his 22 draws and snagged 10 loose balls in his debut. Buffalo will use Nick Weiss and Chase Fraser, who have gone 10 for 20 and 4 for 6, respectively.

X's and O's: As you'd expect after a 17-6 victory, Rochester's offensive numbers are quite efficient. The Knighthawks scored on 20.75 percent of their shots in settled 5-on-5 situations and 41.67 percent on shots in transition situations according to Moneyball Lacrosse. Both numbers are tops in the NLL. The Bandits counter with the second-best settled defense in the NLL. They've allowed goals on only 6.98 percent of shots.

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