The Rochester Knighthawks exploded for nine first-quarter goals and never looked back on their way to a dominating 19-8 win over the rival Buffalo Bandits in the preseason opener between the two teams Saturday at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre (TRAC) in Oakville, Ontario.
SHAWN EVANS POST-GAME
EVAN KIRK POST-GAME
DAN COATES POST-GAME
MIKE HASEN POST-GAME
Veteran forward Curtis Knight (4+3) led the Knighthawks offense with four goals and seven points on the night, while Holden Cattoni (3+2), the team’s reigning Offensive Player of the Year, was right behind him with a hat trick and two assists. Forwards Thomas Hoggarth (2+1), Charlie Bertrand (2+1) and transition man Ryland Rees (2+0) all had two-goal nights, while forwards Shawn Evans (1+5), Jeff Wittig (1+0), Dan Michel (1+0), Ryan Smith (1+4), Cam Milligan (1+2) and veteran defenseman Paul Dawson (1+1) found the scoresheet with a goal apiece.
Veteran goaltender Evan Kirk got the start in the crease for Rochester, making 22 saves in the effort, while netminder Rylan Hartley made an appearance in goal, adding two saves.
Buffalo’s offensive effort was led by forward Brad McCulley (3+0), who notched three markers, while rookie forward Carson Rees (2+0) was the only other Bandit with a multi-goal game with two goals. Forwards Ty Argent (1+0), Connor Fields (1+2) and Vaughn Harris (1+0) all had one-goal games.
Rochester set the tone early, scoring early and often, and accounted for all nine goals that were put on the board in the first quarter of play, the first of which came during four-on-four matchup just 2:37 into the contest. Knight, Hoggarth, Cattoni and Bertrand all started their multi-goal efforts in these first 15 minutes.
— Rochester Knighthawks (@RocKnighthawks) October 31, 2021
Buffalo was able to get on the board in the second thanks to back-to-back markers from Harris and McCulley to make the score 9-2. The Knighthawks then responded with another pair of goals, both from Cattoni, including one on the power-play, to close out the opening half.
The Knighthawks entered halftime with an 11-2 lead, but the Bandits turned things around to open the third quarter with Buffalo scoring twice on consecutive strikes from Carson Rees and Fields. The traded goals for most of the quarter, which featured a combined 10 goals, and ended with Rochester holding a 16-7 advantage.
Rochester went on to score three straight goals to kick-off the final frame, with the first one coming from Dawson just 56 seconds in. Rees and Milligan then rounded out the scoring for the Knighthawks McCulley completed the hat trick for the Bandits.
Knighthawks training camp continues through late November with practice sessions taking place at the TRAC or at Brampton Memorial Arena. Rochester is back in preseason action on Saturday, Nov. 20 when they play the NLL’s newest expansion team of the NLL, Panther City Lacrosse Club, at 7:00 p.m. at Brampton Memorial Arena.
The Knighthawks will conclude their preseason slate with a showdown against the Albany FireWolves on Saturday, Nov. 27 at Segar and Sciortino Field at The Blue Cross Arena before opening the 2021-22 NLL regular season on Saturday, Dec. 4 against the New York Riptide.