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Buffalo Bandits gameday: Bandits vs. Knighthawks

Faceoff: 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Online: NLL TV.

Radio: 1520 AM.

Records: Buffalo 8-9, Rochester 9-8.

Last time out: Buffalo had a chance to clinch a playoff spot last week with a win against the Toronto Rock and a Rochester loss to the New England Black Wolves. Unfortunately for the Bandits, neither result went their way. The Rock claimed the season series, as Toronto's Adam Jones, Rob Hellyer and Challen Rodgers totaled five points each in a 16-11 win over the Bandits last Saturday at KeyBank Center. Buffalo's Mitch Jones and Shawn Evans each had three goals and an assist.

New England outscored Rochester by four in the second half in an 11-6 Black Wolves victory. Austin Shanks scored twice for the KHawks in the losing effort.

Playoff implications: The Bandits need to win and get help to snag a playoff spot in this final weekend of the regular season. If Buffalo beats Rochester and either Toronto or New England lose, the Bandits will play in the postseason. Buffalo can get as high as the second seed, which would mean a home playoff game, if the Bandits win and both Toronto and New England lose.

Rochester clinches a playoff berth with two Georgia losses against Vancouver and New England or with a win and a Vancouver win against Georgia and a Georgia win against New England.

Fan appreciation: The Bandits are rolling out a handful of promotions for the team's Fan Appreciation Day. As part of the "Pack the House" initiative, tickets in the 300 level end zones are $10 and tickets in the 100 level end zones are $20. The first 1,000 fans will receive team photographs, items at the Sabres Store will be 40 percent off, lucky rows will receive prizes from sponsors and selected season ticket holders will receive game-worn jerseys.

The annual tradition of end-of-season awards will take place before the game. The Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards are voted on by the players. Fans can vote for the Breakout Bandit of the Year through the team's Facebook page. The candidates are Chase Fraser, Mitch Jones, Jordan Durston, Vaughn Harris and Nick Weiss. The Fan of the Year will also be honored before faceoff.

Unusual struggles: If the Bandits fail to clinch a playoff spot this weekend, it will mark only the second time in franchise history the team has missed the postseason two straight seasons. Buffalo was left out in 2001 and 2002, when the team went 8-6 and 8-8, respectively. The Bandits have only missed the playoffs five times in the team's 27-year existence.

The Dhane train: Only two players enter the final week with more points than Buffalo forward Dhane Smith: Saskatchewan Rush forwards Mark Matthews and Robert Church. With 100 on the season, Smith is nine points behind Matthews and three behind Church. The Rush, who have long clinched No. 1 in the West Division, host the Calgary Roughnecks at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Smith isn't close to reaching his career high for points, as he totaled an NLL record 137 in his 2016 Most Valuable Player season. Setting a new career high for assists is attainable, though, as he only needs three to tie his previous best mark.

Inching to the finish: Buffalo rookie Josh Byrne has only scored once in the past two games, so he needs two in the team's final regular-season outing to set the franchise record for rookie goals. He already holds Buffalo's rookie records for assists and points.

American made: Knighthawks forward Joe Resetarits, who played high school lacrosse at Hamburg, needs one point in the finale to set a new record for single-season points by an American born player. Toronto's Tom Schreiber set the previous mark of 94 last season in his spectacular debut season.

New beast of the X: With 259 faceoff wins, Rochester's Jake Withers has already smashed Stephen Peyser's previous National Lacrosse League rookie record of 239.

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