The Rochester Knighthawks tied their franchise record with their sixth road win of the season in the 15-9 win over the Buffalo Bandits tonight at HSBC Arena.
Rochester improved to 10-6 and won its fourth straight road win of the season. The game was the third and final meeting between the two teams with the Bandits winning the previous two engagements. Rochester now leads the regular season all-time series with a record of 25-17. The game was also the 50th overall meeting between the two Western NY rivals.
Matt Vinc made 37 saves to lead the league in saves for the third straight season, equaling the mark set by Steve Dietrich from 1995-97 with the Knighthawks. The game was also memorable for Jarrett Davis, who scored his first pro hat trick, and Troy Bonterre, who scored his first pro goal in his 77th pro game. Rochester also got seven-point nights from Cody Jamieson (3+4) and Shawn Williams (2+5). Jamieson ended the season with 53 points to win the rookie scoring race by one point over Curtis Dickson.
For Buffalo, goalie Angus Goodleaf was pulled early in the first quarter after he gave up four goals on eight shots. Mike Thompson replaced him in net and saved 30 on 41 shots. John Tavares (2+4) and Brenden Thenhaus (3+1) were the leading offensive factors. Rochester blitzed the Bandits with six straight goals to open the contest 6-0 and led 7-1 after one. Buffalo closed the gap to 8-5.
The third quarter was played fairly even as Rochester posted three out of the five goals while Buffalo posted two. Chad Culp scored to make it 8-6 Rochester with a sidearm shot that went short side on Vinc, but the Knighthawks answered with goals by Jamieson and Jordan Hall as they increased their lead to four. Mark Steenhuis scored on an overhand shot over the right shoulder of Vinc to make the score 10-7 Rochester. Davis scored a hat trick for the final goal of the third quarter as he scored on a beautiful high to low bounce shot. At the end of the third Rochester lead Buffalo 11-7.
In the fourth Rochester held strong as they scored four of the six goals. Thenhaus scored a hat trick goal at 3:04 on a low to high bounce shot, but goals by Jamieson and Kevin Fines stole any momentum Buffalo might have gained. A goal by Tavares which decreased their deficit to four was not enough to spark a comeback late in the fourth as Bonterre and Mike Accursi added two late goals to make the final 15-9 Rochester.
The Knighthawks will open the Championís Cup Playoffs on Sunday, May 1st against the Toronto Rock. The 3:30 p.m. contest at the Air Canada Centre marks the seventh time these two longtime combatants have met in the postseason. The Rock own a 4-2 record against Rochester and are perfect in Toronto with a 3-0 mark. The Knighthawks, however, won the last meeting on April 20, 2007 en route to their second championship.