The Buffalo Bandits will take their first road trip of the season Saturday night and head to Blue Cross Arena to face the Rochester Knighthawks for Game 2 of the 2021-22 season. The Bandits have not started a season 2-0 since 2012 and will look to break the streak while keeping their great play going.
Buffalo took down the Calgary Roughnecks last Saturday 16-9 at KeyBank Center. The first win of the season was an offensive explosion by the Bandits, with four players scoring three or more goals.
Head coach John Tavares was pleased with how his team played in their first game but knows they haven’t met their great potential yet.
“I think we can improve immensely,” he said. “All the other teams are going to improve, but we need to match and be better.”
Faceoff for Saturday is set for 7 p.m. The game will stream live on ESPN+ and fans can also listen to the radio call on 1520 AM.
Forward Dhane Smith tallied nine points (3+6) in the first game, helping his team to the convincing seven-goal victory.
He was named the NLL Player of the Week on Wednesday.
Your Week 1 Player and Rookie of the Week!@dhanesmith92 | @jteat15 pic.twitter.com/cCo1kZGJat
— NLL (@NLL) December 8, 2021
“I think the familiarity with each other and working together in practice more will help us continue this success,” Smith said. “We have a ton of great players. The offense is just going to come naturally.”
The Bandits got production from veterans like Smith and Josh Byrne who had a seven-point game, but newcomers Tehoka Nanticoke and Connor Fields impressed in their first game with Buffalo.
Nanticoke, the third-overall pick in the 2021 NLL Draft, netted three while Fields, acquired in a trade with San Diego this summer, finished with a five-point night (4+1).
The Knighthawks pulled off a tight win last weekend against the New York Riptide, as the back-and-forth battle took them into overtime. Rochester won 13-12 win in overtime. Holden Cattoni and Shawn Evans led the way with seven-point performances.
Bandits goalie Matt Vinc made 49 saves last weekend against Calgary, more than any other netminder in the League. Rochester’s Evan Kirk faced 55 shots and made 43 saves.
“They’re definitely not a team we can take for granted. We’re looking forward to the challenge,” Smith said. “The first road game is always important. We just need a fast start and worry about five minutes at a time.”
Smith also noted how well Bandits fans travel and how he’s excited to experience the atmosphere at Blue Cross Arena.
Buffalo beat Rochester in their lone matchup during the 2020 season with a 16-15 win in overtime at KeyBank Center.