TONIGHT’S GAME OVERVIEW
The Rochester Knighthawks (3-5) return from the bye week seeking their second straight win tonight when they host the first-place Buffalo Bandits in one final go-around at Segar & Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena. The contest will be the third and final meeting between the intrastate rivals this season and will be carried live on 107.3 FM The Bull as well as ESPN+. The matchup will also be televised live locally on CW Rochester with full coverage beginning at 8:00 p.m.Get Tickets
|TEAM ROSTERS||GAME NOTES|
|2021-22 NLL STATS PACK||KNIGHTHAWKS PLAYER BIOS|
|2021-22 BANDITS STATS||2021-22 KNIGHTHAWKS STATS|
|2021-22 NLL STANDINGS||LISTEN LIVE ON 107.3 FM THE BULL|
SEASON SERIES SNAPSHOT
The Knighthawks are 0-3 all-time against Buffalo after dropping the previous two matchups with the Bandits this season. In the last get-together on Feb. 5, Rochester entered the fourth quarter trailing 10-4 and scored four straight goals to put the Bandits on their heels, but the NLL’s top team was able to survive the late push and hang on for an 11-8 win at KeyBank Center. Forwards Shawn Evans (2+4) and Curtis Knight (3+3) both recorded six-point outings while also combining for 21 shots for Rochester. With his first of two goals on the night, Evans, who played two seasons in Buffalo, surpassed Josh Sanderson for ninth all-time in NLL history with 450 career goals. Holden Cattoni (1+1) and Mike Burke (1+1), who made his season debut with the Knighthawks, both produced a pair of points. Turner Evans (0+3), Ryland Rees (1+0), Charlie Bertrand (0+1) and Paul Dawson (0+1) all found the scoresheet, respectively. Dawson, who had a game-high 16 penalty minutes, became the eighth player in league history to record 500-plus penalty minutes. Goaltender Rylan Hartley (1-4) made his fifth straight start in the crease for Rochester, finishing the night with a season-high 48 saves on the 59 shots he faced. Buffalo has outscored its opponents in every quarter except for the second this season, albeit a narrow 25-24 disadvantage. Rochester, meanwhile, has played its best lacrosse in the second quarter during which the Knighthawks have outscored the opposition by a 24-17 margin. Entering tonight, both teams rank among the top eight in shots and are currently averaging just over 50 shots per game. Additionally, both the Knighthawks and Bandits remain unbeaten this season when leading after three quarters, including identical 1-0 records for Buffalo when on the road and Rochester at home. Knight leads the Knighthawks with 12 points (6+6) in two games against the Bandits this season.
WATCH: TONIGHT’S FACE-OFF FIRST LOOK
LAST TIME OUT
Rochester snapped its season-long four-game skid by way of a 15-13 win over the Albany FireWolves back on Feb. 12. The victory not only gave the Knighthawks their first home win of the season, but also secured the season sweep over Albany, who the Knighthawks outscored 31-20 over the two-game season series. Rochester scored six times in the opening frame, setting a new season-high for the most in a single quarter, on the strength of five different goal-scorers, including a pair from Turner Evans. It also marked the first time this season the Knighthawks scored the first goal of the game. Rochester held Albany scoreless in the third quarter, marking the second time this season the Knighthawks have kept an opponent off the board for a whole quarter of play. Shawn Evans led the way with a 10-point effort (1+9) while Holden Cattoni recorded his second four-goal game of the season with a goal in each frame. His only other four-goal performance also came against Albany back on Dec. 18. He’s now scored at least one goal in all but one game this season and has multiple goals in five of his seven appearances overall. Ryan Smith also scored a hat trick as part of a four-point game, giving the rookie forward points in all but one game as well as multi-goal efforts in four of his last five contests.
EVANS EARNS WEEKLY NLL HONORS
Shawn Evans was named the NLL’s Player of the Week for Week 11 following his record-setting performance against Albany on Feb.12. Evans set a new single-game franchise record with nine assists and tied the franchise mark with 10 points. He became just the fifth player this season to record nine assists in a game and the sixth to the reach 10 points. His 10-point effort puts him at 40 points on the season, tying him for 13th overall among the NLL’s top point-getters coming into this weekend.
EVANS ON THE MOVE
Two weeks after becoming just the fifth player in league history to reach 800 career assists, joining the likes of John Tavares, Josh Sanderson, Dan Dawson and Colin Doyle, Shawn Evans added another milestone to his already illustrious 16-year NLL career earlier this month in Buffalo by scoring his 450th career goal to move ahead of Sanderson for ninth on the all-time list. He reached the mark with his first of two goals on the night before adding four assists. The two-time NLL MVP now trails Doyle by 39 assists for fourth all-time. He also needs just six more penalty minutes to pass Geoff Snider for third on the all-time list with 583. Evans, who in 2019-20 became just the sixth player in NLL history to record 1,200 career points, enters the weekend leading Rochester with 32 assists and 40 points in eight games. Coming into this weekend, he’s tied for sixth in the league in assists and tied for 13th in overall scoring among the league’s top point-getters.
DYNAMIC DUO TAKING FLIGHT
The Knighthawks come into the weekend owning two of the NLL’s top eight scoring rookies in forwards Ryan Smith and Charlie Bertrand. Smith, who’s new to the indoor game after leading Chaos to the 2021 PLL Championship this past summer, has taken his first NLL season by storm. Averaging more than three points per game, Smith ranks fifth in rookie scoring with 23 points while also ranking fifth with 13 assists. His 10 goals are third-most among all first-year players, trailing only Buffalo’s Tehoka Nanticoke (14) and New York’s Jeff Teat (13). Rochester’s third overall pick in the 2020 NLL Entry Draft, Smith has scored two of his 10 goals this season on the power-play, which are tied for second-most among rookies. He also ranks fourth with 51 shots. Bertrand, a three-time NCAA National Champion, ranks eighth among NLL rookies in points (19) and is tied for seventh in goals (7). He also leads all rookies and is tied for second in the league with two shorthanded goals. Bertrand has recorded at least one point in all eight matchups this season and has totaled seven assists over his last four games, including a season-high three-assist effort in the 15-13 win over the Albany FireWolves two weeks ago. Both he and Smith recorded hat tricks in the 16-7 win over Albany on Dec. 18, representing the only time this season Rochester had multiple players finish with three or more goals.
HARTLEY HANDLING BUSY WORKLOAD
Following the early-season departure of veteran goaltender Evan Kirk, who was placed on the Holdout List for the remainder of the season, Hartley has become a mainstay between the pipes for Rochester. The 23-year-old has started the last six straight games for the Knighthawks, going 2-4 with an 11.30 goals-against average and a .793 save percentage while totaling 237 saves over that span, including a season-high 48-save effort in the previous matchup against Buffalo. Acquired by Rochester in the third round of the 2019 NLL Expansion Draft, Hartley ranks 12th among all netminders in saves and 12th in minutes played (329). He also ranks sixth among all NLL netminders that have played at least six games in goals-against and ninth overall in save percentage. More impressively, Hartley has made 30 or more saves in each of his six start this season with both of his wins coming against Albany.
SCOUTING THE BANDITS
Buffalo has been atop the league standings since day one, winning seven of their eight games while outscoring the opposition 104-78 over that span. After opening the season with a six straight wins, the Bandits suffered their first and loss of the season at the hands of the Toronto Rock before getting right back in the win column thanks to a 13-8 win over Albany at KeyBank Center this past Friday. All 21 goals were scored on the same end of the floor as both teams alternated holding each other scoreless for two quarters before Buffalo went on a 7-0 in the fourth to put the game out of reach. Dhane Smith led the way offensively with another team-leading six-point effort (2+4) while Chris Cloutier, who delivered the overtime game-winner in a Week 9 victory over the New York Riptide, scored a team-high four goals in the win for the Bandits, who improved to an NLL-best 5-0 record at home this season. Josh Byrne also notched five assists and goaltender Matt Vinc posted a season-high 54 saves to pick up his league-leading seventh win of the season. Buffalo returns to Rochester fueled by Smith, who leads the league with 36 assists and ranks fourth in the NLL in scoring with 53 points (17+36) in eight games. He also shares the team lead in goals with Connor Fields with 17, good enough for 12th in the league in that category. Byrne remains at a close second with 16 goals for the NLL’s top-ranked offense, while his 40 points overall are tied for 13th-most. He also leads the league with three shorthanded goals. Tehoka Nanticoke ranks fourth among all first-year players with 24 points and leads all rookies with 14 goals. Buffalo’s biggest asset, however, is between the pipes in Vinc, who’s played every second this season with the Bandits. Arguably one of the best netminders in NLL history, the veteran netminder currently leads the league in wins (7) and ranks third in saves (339). A seven-time NLL Goaltender of the Year, Vinc spent eight seasons with the previous Knighthawks franchise from 2011 to 2018, backstopping the team to three straight NLL championships in 2012, 2013 and again in 2014. Vinc, who’s also an eight-time NLL All-Pro Fist-Team selection, is the all-time leader in minutes played (12,687), saves (8,348) and wins (120). Vinc is the only netminder in league history to earn Goaltender of the Year honors seven times and the only netminder to win an NLL championship in three straight years.
- Thomas Hoggarth is seven points away from reaching the century mark for his pro career.
UP NEXT FOR THE KNIGHTHAWKS
The Knighthawks are back in action on Friday, March 4 as they travel south to wrap up their season series against Lyle Thompson and the Georgia Swam at Gas South Arena. Game time is slated for a 7:30 p.m. start and will be carried live on The Bull 107.3 FM as well as ESPN+. Fans can stay up to date all season long with the latest news, stories and notes at www.rochesterknighthawks.com.