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Byrne’s career night leads Bandits past Rochester

A seven-goal burst to close out the third quarter and start the fourth propelled the Buffalo Bandits to a 16-14 win at Rochester Saturday night.

Rookie Josh Byrne, the first overall pick in last year’s draft, scored a career-high five goals to lead the Bandits (4-3) to their second straight win and third in the last four games.

Dhane Smith added three goals and a season-high eight assists as Buffalo won in Rochester for just the second time in its last 10 tries.

It’s the fifth loss in a row for the Knighthawks (2-5) since a 21-11 win at the Bandits on Dec. 23.

The score was tied 5-5 after the first quarter and 8-8 at the half.

Byrne had a hat trick by the break, and Smith had a goal and four assists.

Neither team held more than a two-goal lead until the Bandits rattled off seven straight goals to turn a 10-8 deficit 4:47 into the second half into a 15-10 lead 4:02 into the fourth.

Smith scored twice and had four assists during that run, while Callum Crawford scored one of his two goals and had four of his five assists.

Byrne scored Buffalo’s final goal of the game after Rochester pulled within 15-12 midway through the fourth. The Knighthawks went on to score the final two goals of the game.

Bandits goaltender Alex Buque saved 45 of 59 shots for the win. Rochester’s Matt Vinc, who came into the game second in the league with a .780 save percentage, stopped 32 of 48 shots (.667).

Rochester’s Cory Vitarelli had three goals in the first half but was held scorless until netting the game’s final goal with 1:36 to go.

Mitch Jones added two goals and two assists for Buffalo. Jordan Durston had a goal and two assists.

Buffalo went 1 for 2 on the power play, while Rochester converted on 3 of 6 chances with the man advantage.

The Bandits start a two-game weekend series on Feb. 9 at New England before hosting the Georgia Swarm on Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m.

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