- Andrew Mullane
Bandits Soar Past Knighthawks
By: Andrew Mullane
Buffalo NY--- The number one seed Buffalo Bandits took on the number four seed Rochester Knighthawks in a playoff matchup on Saturday, May 6. The quarterfinals is a best of one game series between the Bandits and Knighthawks. The two teams split the season series 1-1. The first matchup this year took place on Friday, January 20th 2023 where the Knighthawks beat the Bandits 15-12. The second game between the two teams took place on Saturday, February 4th 2023 where the Bandits beat the Knighthawks 13-10. KeyBank Center filled up with mostly Bandits fans, but many Rochester fans drove up making this playoff game even more fun.
The first quarter of play would start with Ian Mackey the very first shot of the game scoring to make the score 1-0 Buffalo. Dhane Smith would take a lazer of a shot, but a beautiful save by Rochester's Goalie Rylan Hartley. Kyle Buchanan got involved at the 9 minute mark scoring the second goal of the game for Buffalo to make the score 2-0 Buffalo. Through the first media timeout we already had seen some amazing saves from both Goalies. Josh Byrne on the power play scored Buffalo's third goal of the game as he was able to get open in the middle of the felid. After the first quarter the Buffalo Bandits lead the Rochester Knighthawks 3-0.
The second quarter of play started off with a Rochester goal by Holden Cattoni to make the score 3-1 Buffalo a couple minutes into the second quarter of play. Cattoni would strike again pretty quickly to make the score 3-2 Buffalo. Buffalo had absolutely no answer for Holden Cattoni as he got a hat trick in the second quarter of play! Kaiir Elam and Quintin Morris of the Buffalo Bills were in attendance and sent KeyBank Center into a frenzy. Chris Cloutier would score Buffalo's fourth goal right after they showed the Bills players making KeyBank Center a huge party for the Bandits and Knighthawks. The Knighthawks Conner Fields made his former team pay by scoring to make the score 4-4. Chris Cloutier scored again for the Bandits making the score 5-4 Buffalo, with about 5 minutes left in the second half of play. Dhane Smith jumped in on the scoring action with a beauty of a shot to make the score 6-4 Buffalo. Dhane Smith scored his second of the night to make the score 7-4 Buffalo. Tehoka Nanicoke was not gonna go scoreless and fired one past Rylan Hartley to make the score 8-4 Buffalo.
The second half of play would start with Ryan Smith of the Rochester Knighthawks scoring a goal from the restraining line to make the score 8-5 Buffalo. Thomas Hoggarth of the Knighthawks scored around the 11 minute mark to make the score 8-6 Buffalo. Dhane Smith scored again his third of the game giving himself a hat-trick and making the score 9-6 Buffalo. Ian Mackey scored the first goal of the game and the tenth goal of the game to make the score 10-6 Buffalo. Captain "Coast to Coast" Priolo scored on a breakaway to make the score 11-6 Buffalo. Kyle Buchanan scored off a pass from Dhane Smith to make the score 12-6 Buffalo which energized the Bandits. Josh Byrne would score to make the score 13-6, and the Knighthawks would go to backup goalie Riley Hutchcraft. Curtis Knight of the Knighthawks slammed a goal by Matt Vinc to make the score 13-7. Josh Byrne wanted a hat trick and got himself one beating Hutchcraft to make the score 14-7 Buffalo. Hutchcraft followed that by robbing Buffalo's Justin Martin of a sure goal.
Chase Fraser of the Bandits opened up the forth quarter with a goal extending Buffalo's lead to 15-7. Brad McCulley would join in on the scoring fun for the bandits to make the score 16-7 Buffalo. Tehoka Nanticoke scored his second of the night beating Hutchcraft to put Buffalo up 17-7. Kyle Buchanan also got a hat trick extending Buffalo's lead 18-7. Chris Cloutier would add his hat trick to the game putting Buffalo up 19-7 halfway through the third. The Bandits just poured the goals on Rochester showing no mercy at all Josh Bryne put them up 20-7. Holden Cattoni would score his fourth goal of the night to make the score 20-8 Buffalo. The game ended 20-8 Buffalo.
An unreal performance by Buffalo tonight, the last time the team scored 20 goals was back in 2016. As for Rochester a big step forward this year making the playoffs. The Knighthawks finish the year a solid 10-8 with hope in their future.