Knighthawks Make Statement with Offensive Explosion Against Rival Bandits

Jan 27, 2019

DSC_9346.JPGBy Mitchell Courtney -- On Saturday night, the Knighthawks were poised to avenge an earlier loss to their storied rivals, the Buffalo Bandits. The Knighthawks entered the contest with something to prove against the 4-1 Bandits. Fortunately for the Knighthawks, they redeemed themselves with an 18-13 win in front of the home fans.

Angus Goodleaf started his fifth game of the season and was again strong between the pipes, making 43 saves en route to a much-needed Knighthawks victory.

Forward Austin Shanks opened the scoring for the Knighthawks with his fourth and fifth goals of the season just 42 seconds apart, the first of which coming only 3:29 into the first quarter. The second-year man out of Ohio State was named to the NLL’s All-Rookie team last season, and he has picked up where he left off in 2018.

Goals from Buffalo’s Thomas Hoggarth and Kevin Brownell and Rochester’s Kyle Jackson and Joe Resetarits made the score 4-2 in favor of the Knighthawks at the end of the first quarter. Resetarits’ goal gave him 100 career goals as a Knighthawk. After some early offensive struggles from Resetarits and the entire Knighthawks team, head coach Mike Hasen noted that the team has shifted in the right direction.

“I think that there has been a change in our whole mindset in the offensive zone,” he said. “Now when we are getting our opportunities, we are making the most of them.”

In a rough and rowdy second quarter, Rochester and Buffalo traded blows on both the scoreboard and in fisticuffs. Shanks continued his torrid start to the season and the game with his third goal of the game.

Although the Bandits had averaged a league-high 14.40 goals per game, the Knighthawks were able to hold Buffalo to six goals in the first half; with additional goals from Scott Campbell, Cody Jamieson and Graeme Hossack giving Rochester a three-goal lead at halftime.

The third quarter began much like the second quarter ended, with the Knighthawks in command of possession and control. With a man advantage, the Knighthawks ripped the game wide open on Shanks fifth goal of the night. He gave Rochester a four-goal lead just 4:08 into the third quarter and Resetarits also tacked on his second goal and fifth point of the night less than halfway through the quarter.

“It was a great effort from everyone from Goodleaf to our forwards,” said Hasen of the team’s strong offensive performance in the rematch against Buffalo. “This is something that we can build off of moving forward.”

Late third quarter tallies from Cory Vitarelli and Shanks gave the Knighthawks a five-goal cushion, forcing the Bandits to pull former Rochester goaltender Matt Vinc for backup Zach Higgins. Shanks’ goal gave him an impressive six goals in just three quarters of action. The Knighthawks did not slow down in the fourth quarter, continuing their constant barrage of shots on the Buffalo goaltenders. The team opened the quarter with yet another goal from red hot Shanks and goals from Campbell and Pat Saunders just 1:50 into the final quarter. Shanks finished the night with a career-high seven goals.

“My shooting just had not been up to par until tonight,” he said. “I shot the ball well tonight, and my teammates really answered the bell.”

Shanks spoke highly of the Knighthawks coaching staff, noting that they stuck by him during his early season struggles.

“Since day one of my rookie year the staff here has been confident in me,” said the Ohio State product. “I was on a four-game slump, they could have been on my back, but they were behind me all the way.”

Resetarits and Cam Milligan also added goals in the fourth as the Knighthawks finished off the Bandits by a score of 18-13. Next Friday the Knighthawks will face off against the Wings in Philadelphia in an effort to get back to .500 on the season before squaring off against the Georgia Swarm at home the next day.

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