April 9, 2011

Bandits Move into First Place in NLL East

by Jeff Baker | NLL.com

The Buffalo Bandits (10-4) and their posse of fans galloped into Rochester and rode off into the night with a win, rustling a 9-8 victory from the Knighthawks (7-6) on Saturday night before 9,216 at Blue Cross Arena.

The story of the game was the tale of two cities. As expected, the bipartisan crowd at BCA was incredibly loud, literally shaking the building after every goal.

The chants of "DE-FENSE" by the Knighthawks faithful were countered with cries of "OF-FENSE" from the large contingent of Bandits supporters. Buffalo's infamous "B-O-X... BOX! BOX! BOX!" chant, celebrating an opposing penalty, was in full-effect, complete with the customary orange signage in the front row.

Rochester scored first, but Buffalo responded with two quick goals in the game's first five minutes. The well-rested K'Hawks nested a 5-2 lead under their wing at the end of the first quarter.

After forcing a turnover while shorthanded, Buffalo's Tom Montour spun around to tie the game at six in the whirlwind second quarter. For the second straight night, the Bandits went into halftime with the score tied.

Rochester dictated play in the 'run and gun' first half, but Buffalo turned the game into a defensive battle in the second frame. Tracey Kelusky scored a 5-on-3 power play goal with 0.9 seconds left in the third quarter, giving the Bandits a 7-6 lead headed into the fourth.

Eight minutes into the fourth, Rochester's Cody Jamieson tied the game at eight. Buffalo's Mark Steenhuis broke the tie with 51.3 seconds left in regulation. A shot clock violation gave Rochester a timeout and one last chance with 12.4 seconds left, but they could not convert.

Buffalo is still undefeated (8-0) when leading after three quarters. By making 41 saves, Bandits goaltender Mike Thompson is now 9-1 in 2011. Steenhuis had the game-winning goal and three assists, while teammate John Tavares notched a hat trick for Buffalo.

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