Mike Accursi said the Knightawks clicked. Cody Jamieson said the Knighthawks finally finished their chances. And Darris Kilgour said the Bandits aren’t going to dwell on Saturday night for long. This was the aftermath of Rochester’s 15-7 victory over Buffalo on Saturday night, which really wasn’t even that close. And while both teams finished the weekend with 3-3 records, they’re very different 3-3 records. The Knighthawks came into the weekend with a 1-3 mark, but scored 35 goals to win 2 games. The Bandits have lost 2 straight. “Everybody is getting more comfortable with each other,” Jamieson told the Democrat and Chronicle. “Coaches are doing a great job scouting the other teams’ defense, so it’s starting to come together.”
The Knighthawks were searching for offensive answers. They were averaging a league-low 9 goals per game before their weekend sweep and were at the bottom in total goals-for. Today, they’re averaging 12.3 goals per game and their 74 goals are fourth-most.
But for as much as the offense came together, the real definition of this team so far is a defense that’s held 3 of its last 4 opponents to single digits. It smothered a Philadelphia Wings on Friday and led 11-2 at halftime. On Saturday, the Bandits were shut out in the first quarter and scored 2 goals in the second, on 22 shots.
“When you get 22 shots, you should score more than two goals,” Kilgour told The Buffalo News.
Rochester goalie Matt Vinc, who was the NLL’s Defensive Player of the Week last week, certainly will be up for consideration again. He made 49 saves against Philly and 48 against Buffalo for respective save percentages of .831 and an amazing .873.
“As a goalie, you make one save and it goes from there,” Vinc told the Democrat and Chronicle. “Luckily I had a couple bounces go my way early, and we grabbed loose balls and we limited their second opportunities. I can’t say enough about our defense, just a lot of good quality plays by our defense.”
As for the Bandits, they’ll get to regroup and take another shot at the Knighthawks this Saturday, in Rochester, where they won 14-13 back in Week 2. But Kilgour told The News there won’t be any long film sessions from the outing 2 nights ago.
“You have to be real careful with this type of game,” he said. “You can break some spirits just showing mistakes that were made. We could sit there for three hours watching the mistakes that were made. … The season’s not over at 3-3. It’s a matter of straightening out what’s wrong, and going on from there.”
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Calgary Roughnecks coach Curt Malawsky wasn’t surprised to see forward Curtis Dickson score 4 goals, 3 of them in the fourth quarter including the winner with 39 seconds left against Edmonton. “When Curtis puts the work boots and hard hat on and battles in the trenches, he’s pretty tough to stop one-on-one,” said Malawsky. (The Canadian Press) … Malawsky promised a better defensive effort from the Riggers, and goalie Mike Poulin was the beneficiary of a unit that battened down the hatches against the Rush. “There were a lot of shots but the quality of shots was the key. They didn’t see a lot of action in the middle. And as a goalie you can’t ask for more than that.” (Calgary Herald) … In stopping 51 of 57 shots in Washington’s win over Colorado, goalie Tyler Richards said coach Chris Hall has been the source of motivation. C.H. challenged me the morning of the Rochester game and said I needed to be better. So you step up, or someone else will take your spot.” (Everett Herald) … Tyler Hass not only scored the game-winner in OT for the Swarm against the Rock, he had a revelation. “Teams have been adapting to us this year. I’ve found they’re sending two, three guys back and we got what we wanted tonight.” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune) … Momentum was rolling the wrong way for the Philadelphia Wings in their 20-10 Friday morning loss to the Rochester Knighthawks, said captain Brodie Merrill. “When you get down four, five, six goals inevitably you have to change your game plan and when you do that you leave yourself vulnerable. It kept snowballing in the wrong direction and we couldn’t seem to stop it or have an answer for it.” (Philly Sports Live).Chavez is an avid lacrosse player in Rochester and a journalist for the Democrat and Chronicle as well as a longtime Inside Lacrosse contributor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to RochesterSports.com.
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