The Rochester Knighthawks outscored the Buffalo Bandits 7-3 over the final quarter and a half on their way to a 14-10 victory in the preseason opener between the two teams Sunday afternoon at KeyBank Center.
The exhibition matchup will serve as one of three games for the Knighthawks, which return to action on Saturday, Nov. 12.
Rookie forwards Austin Hasen (3+2) and Thomas Vela (2+3), both selected in the 2022 NLL Entry Draft, each made their unofficial debuts with the Knighthawks, each tallied five points to lead all Rochester scorers while Parker Pipher (2+1) and Trent Boyd (2+0) both recorded a multi-goal outing. Mike Burke (1+3), Jake McNabb (1+2), Kevin McNally (1+2) Corson Kealey (0+3) and Ryan McCrory all notched multiple points. Matt Gilray (1+0), Mitch Ogilvie (1+0) and Ethan Schott (0+1) all rounded out the scoring.
Rylan Hartley and Riley Hutchcraft split the goaltending duties in the contest. Hartley, who earned the start in the crease, allowed six goals while Hutchcraft allowed four in the second half.
During the opening quarter, the Knighthawks jumped out to a 2-1 lead before increasing the cushion to 6-1 in the second. Buffalo pulled within one at the half before eventually knotting the game at 7-7 early in the third quarter.
Rochester regained the lead shortly afterwards and finished off the win by outscoring the Bandits 7-3 over the remaining 20 minutes to claim the 14-10 victory.
In the weeks to come, practices will be far and few between with two more exhibition games on the docket for the Knighthawks.
On Saturday, Nov. 12, the Knighthawks take on the Calgary Roughnecks before battling Panther City in one final tune-up on Saturday, Nov. 26. Both face-offs are set for 7:00 p.m. at Brampton Memorial Arena.