ROCHESTER – The Buffalo Bandits took on the Rochester Knighthawks for the second straight year in the playoffs when they met in the first round at the Blue Cross Arena on Friday night. The outcome was the same, but the result was much happier for Hamburg native Joe Resetarits.
Last year, Resetarits scored in the deciding 10-minute minigame for the Bandits, who went on to lose the contest and the series to the Knighthawks. This time, Resetarits had four goals for his relatively new team in Rochester as the Knighthawks took the postseason contest.
This was the first time that Resetarits had faced his old teammates. He came over to Rochester after a midseason trade.
“It was different,” Resetarits said. “I’ve still got a lot of buddies on the team. I know how good they are on offense, and how good” goalie Anthony Cosmo “can be when he’s hot. We just stuck to basics.”
The third-year player avoided questions about whether he took extra satisfaction about beating the team that traded him.
“It’s a playoff game – everyone has to step up and give it their best,” he said.
However, Dhane Smith of the Bandits expected a good effort from his former linemate.
“After losing him in the trade, we knew he would come out flying,” he said. “Give him credit.”
Ryan Benesch picked up a little hardware for his role in helping the Bandits win their final four games of the season.
Benesch was named the National Lacrosse League’s Player of the Month for April. The honor also includes games played in early May.
Benesch had an impressive 43 points, including 20 goals, in five games for the Bandits. He had at least three goals and seven points in all of those contests, including a 12-point night against New England in the season’s final game.
Benesch had goals in every game this season, as he led the NLL in scoring with 55 goals. Two other players also scored goals in all 18 games – Tyler Digby of Vancouver and Mark Matthews of Edmonton.
Friday’s game between the Bandits and Rochester was the 10th time that the teams had met in the playoffs. Rochester has a 7-3 record after Friday night’s victory.
The most memorable game may have taken place in 1997, perhaps because it was for the league championship of the old Major Indoor Lacrosse League. The Knighthawks won that game, 15-12, in the First Niagara Center.
A couple of still-familiar names played important roles in that contest. John Tavares had four goals for the Bandits. However, Rochester goalie – and current Buffalo general manager – Steve Dietrich was named the game’s most valuable player.
Buffalo had not eliminated Rochester in the playoffs since 2006 entering Friday’s game.