Bandits get 53 saves from Cosmo, improve to 4-3 on the season.
The Buffalo Bandits (4-3) snapped a two-game losing streak and avenged last week’s loss to the Rochester Knighthawks (3-4) as they left Blue Cross Arena with a 10-6 victory. The win came thanks in large part to a 53-save performance from goaltender Anthony Cosmo and a hat trick from forward Luke Wiles.
The teams played a tight first quarter, scoring just one goal each. Shawn Williams opened the scoring at the 4:43 mark of the first quarter, quickly shooting a Mark Steenhuis pass behind Rochester goalie Matt Vinc. Williams had a game high four points.
Rochester’s Brad Self would answer a little over three minutes later, as he went to coast to coast, and rifled a shot past Cosmo.
The second period was scoreless for the first seven minutes, until Luke Wiles scored his first of the game to give the Bandits a 2-1 advantage. Rochester, however, would get two goals in a span of a little less than a minute to take a 3-2 lead.
Wiles would answer right back, tying the game at three. Wiles goal was the first of three straight for the Bandits, as Dhane Smith scored 13 seconds later, and Scott Self converted a pass from Jay Thorimbert in transition two minutes after that to give the Bandits a 5-3 lead heading into half time.
Rochester’s Cory Vitarelli brought his team to within one two minutes into the second half, as he took a pass from Cody Jamieson right in front of the Buffalo net, and made no mistake shooting it past a helpless Cosmo.
That is as close as the Knightahwks would come to tying the game. The Bandits scored five of the final seven goals.
By the end of the third quarter, Dhane Smith scored his second of the game, Wiles completed his hat trick, and Nick Cotter and Aaron Wilson added goals as a part of a 4-1 scoring run for the Bandits. They would end the third quarter with a 9-5 lead.
The fourth quarter was just as tight as the first, with both teams scoring just one goal. Dan Dawson brought the Knighthawks within three with his 900th career point. However, Chad Culp would score a little over three minutes later to put the nail in the coffin, and put the Bandits up, 10-6.
A small scrum broke out late in the game. After the Knighthawks’ Craig Point took a late penalty, Vinc staved a shot by the Bandits, and entered desperation mode. He began carrying the ball up the field in an effort to catch the Bandits off guard
He was met by several Bandits players just outside of his own zone, who attempted to check him to loosen the ball up. Both Vinc and his teammates took exception to this, as players were pushing and shoving back fourth. Cooler heads would ultimately prevail, as the officials interceded in the scrum early to discourage any late fights.
The Bandits took sole possession of second place in the East Division with the win, and improved to 2-1 against the Knighthawks this season. The teams will meet once more this season, in the final game of the regular season at the First Niagara Center.
As far as the immediate future, the Bandits will get a bye week next week, before playing their second back-to-back of the season. The Bandits will travel to Toronto to play the Rock on February 28th before returning home the next day to take on the Philadelphia Wings at home. Both games are set for 7:30 P.M. starts.