The Buffalo Bandits will host the “new” Rochester Knighthawks for the first time on Friday at 7:30 p.m. (Radio 1520).
At 4-1, the Bandits' lone loss came at the hands of the “old” Rochester Knighthawks, who are now known as the Halifax Thunderbirds.
The Bandits have continued the success they had last season, making the NLL finals but found themselves in a tough spot against the Colorado Mammoth the last time out.
Buffalo let up a three-goal lead in the second half and went to overtime tied at 12. Luckily, Corey Small scored 1:29 into the period and the efforts by Dhane Smith and Josh Byrne didn’t go to waste.
Byrne, the Bandits leading goal scorer, finished with seven goals. It was one shy of the Bandits’ team record for most in a game. Smith added six assists to put him at a team-high 20 this year.
Byrne will have to step up even more now that the team’s second leading goal-scorer, Chris Cloutier, has been placed on injured reserve.
Leading the Knighthawks is 25-year-old forward Holden Cattoni. Cattoni leads Rochester in goals (10), assists (20), and points (30). Cattoni is in his fourth year in the NLL, and posted a career-high 80 points with the Georgia Swarm in 2019.
Rochester is the least disciplined team in the NLL with a league-high 99 penalty minutes, resulting in the second-worst goal differential with a minus-22.
Offensively, they are tied for the 11th most-goals with 56. By comparison, Buffalo has only scored 62 times this season but a stronger defense and Matt Vinc in net have been the difference for the second-place Bandits.