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Buffalo Bandits gameday: Bandits vs. Rochester Knighthawks

Faceoff: 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Online: NLL TV.

Radio: 1520 AM.

Records: Buffalo 6-3, Rochester 4-6.

Last time out: The Bandits' first back-to-back of the season was wildly successful, as Buffalo defeated New England on the road on Friday, 18-13, and Georgia at home on Saturday, 18-9. The pair of victories, which extended Buffalo's winning streak to four games, thrust the Bandits into first place in the East Division.

The Knighthawks have turned things around after a four-game skid, defeating last season's divisional winners in back-to-back weeks. Rochester defeated the Swarm, 17-10, on Feb. 11 and Saskatchewan, 16-11, last Saturday. Cody Jamieson had three goals and four assists as the KHawks handed the Rush their second loss of the season.

All-time series: Buffalo and Rochester split the first two games of this year's four-game series. The KHawks were 21-11 victors on Dec. 23, while Buffalo was much stronger defensively in a 16-14 win on Feb. 3. Both previous games were in Blue Cross Arena. The I-90 rivals play for a final time in the 2018 regular season on April 28 at KeyBank Center.

Rochester leads the all-time series, 37-27.

Hot dog: Bandits forward Dhane Smith is second in the National Lacrosse League in assists (35, two less than league leader Mark Matthews) and fourth in points (56, two less than league leader Adam Jones). He's on pace to have the second-best scoring season of his career at the halfway point.

The young guns: Saturday's matchup features the top two scoring rookies in the NLL, Buffalo's Josh Byrne and Rochester's Austin Shanks. Byrne leads first-year players in goals (17), assists (19) and points (36). Shanks, an Ohio State graduate, ranks second in all three categories with nine goals, 12 assists and 21 points.

Bandits midseason report: Josh Byrne making a case for Rookie of the Year

Byrne notched five goals and an assist in Buffalo's last matchup with the Knighthawks.

Still No. 1: There is no way for the Bandits to fall out of No. 1 in the East Division this weekend with Toronto having a bye week. New England could move to a half-game behind Buffalo with a victory against the Vancouver Stealth and a Bandits loss.

The good old days: There will be a number of former Bandits in the crowd Saturday for the team's alumni night. Alums will be on the field for a pregame ceremony and signing autographs in the arena concourse during halftime. The Bandits will wear their throwback uniforms for the third time this season and the second time at home.

Offensive firepower: The Bandits have scored at least 16 goals in all four games of their winning streak. They scored 18 in each of the last two, the team's high-water mark for goals this season.

First impression: Transition player Thomas Hoggarth, acquired on Feb. 5 in a trade with Vancouver, found the net in his first two games with the Bandits. He scored in the fourth quarter in both, giving the Bandits a 15-13 lead against New England and an 18-8 lead against Georgia.

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