After defeating Georgia at home last week, the Buffalo Bandits hit the road for the first of three-straight games away from KeyBank Center. The Buffalo Bandits will be looking to earn their fifth-straight win when they travel to Rochester to play the Rochester Knighthawks on Friday.
Faceoff at Blue Cross Arena is slated for 7:30 p.m. on ESPN+ and WGR 550.
Since dropping their first game of the year, the Bandits have not lost since, earning their way up to second place in the Eastern Conference standings.
At the moment, the Knighthawks sit in first place in the East with a 5-0 record on the season after beating the Swarm, Rock, FireWolves, Panther City, and Riptide.
Climbing The Ranks
In last week’s bout against the Swarm, the Bandits tallied 11 goals, with six of them coming from Josh Byrne. He led the scoresheet with three assists as well, being joined by Dhane Smith (1+5), Kyle Buchanan (2+2), and captain Steve Priolo (1+2).
Buffalo goaltender Matt Vinc made 47 saves on 56 shots. Vinc gained sole possession of second place for wins (39) in franchise history, passing Anthony Cosmo.
The Bandits currently have two players at the very top of the league leaderboards in Byrne and Smith. Byrne leads the league in goals and points with 20 and 37 and Smith in assists with 31.
Smith sits in second in total points also, with 36, just behind Byrne.
Smith now also holds claim to second all-time for assists in Buffalo Bandits franchise history. With three more goals, Byrne will tie Darris Kilgour (128) for sixth all-time in goals scored in franchise history.
This will be the fifth all-time meeting between the Bandits and the new Knighthawks franchise, which was founded in 2019, after the original Rochester team moved to Halifax.
Buffalo has won the last four meetings against Rochester and will look to extend its win streak against the Knighthawks to five games on Friday night. Last season, the Bandits defeated the Knighthawks in all three matchups including a 14-8 victory in the most recent game.
Fight For First
Friday’s game will be a clash of NLL powerhouses, when the Bandits meet the Knighthawks for the first seed in the Eastern conference. This will mark the first time that these teams will play each other in the regular season.
After Saturday’s victory, head coach John Tavares acknowledged the battle that Friday’s game will surely be.
“They’re undefeated, so that’s gonna be a tough match,” he said. “This year they seem to be finding ways to win and they’re getting confident.”
Bolstering the defense
On Thursday, the Bandits acquired defenseman Adam Bomberry from the Albany FireWolves in exchange for forward Thomas Vaesen.
Bomberry has played in 65 career NLL games with the Rochester Knighthawks, New England Black Wolves and Albany FireWolves. The Six Nations, Ontario native has totaled 41 points (16+25) and 309 loose-ball recoveries in his career.
Bomberry was drafted in the second round (16th overall) in the 2015 NLL Entry Draft by Rochester.