The Buffalo Bandits sent their fans scurrying to the record book on Saturday night ... for all the wrong reasons.
The Bandits had a bad performance for the ages, losing to the Rochester Knighthawks, 15-7, before 14,843 in the First Niagara Center.
It wasn’t the worst performance in team history at home in terms of biggest loss. That distinction is still held by the 2002 team, which lost to Rochester by a 22-11 count. Still, this was bad enough to leave everyone connected with the Bandits feeling disappointed and angry.
“It’s a night you want to forget,” goalie Anthony Cosmo said.
Coach Darris Kilgour said it was an “old-fashioned” butt-kicking, adding, “I didn’t think much of anybody tonight. ... We didn’t play well in any area.”
On a night when the Bandits had a week between games and the Knighthawks had a little more than a day since last playing, it was Rochester that had more jump in its game as the Knighthawks turned in a dominating performance.
One of Rochester’s stars certainly was goalie Matt Vinc, especially statistically. He finished with a very impressive 48 saves on 55 shots in almost 56 minutes of work. Vinc was particularly impressive in the second quarter. Buffalo had a 21-11 edge in shots, but Rochester had a 4-2 margin in goals.
“When you get 22 shots, you should score more than two goals,” Kilgour said.
“We packed it in on defense pretty good,” Vinc said. “I had a lot of clear looks, and our defense cleaned up a lot of loose balls. It’s definitely easy to play on a night like that.”
At the other end, Anthony Cosmo and Kurtis Wagar both took turns in goal. Cosmo played about 50 minutes and made 31 saves on 44 shots.
“I’d look down at the other end of the field, and see a goalie who was really dialed in,” Cosmo said. “Then play would come down to our end, the ball would hit me and still find a way to go in.”
Cory Vitarelli had four goals for the Knighthawks, with one of them ready for inclusion on the team highlight film. His behind-the-back goal while crossing in front of the crease was a beauty. Teammate Cody Jamieson had two goals and seven assists, while Dan Dawson had a goal and four assists.
Meanwhile, the Bandits never could get much offense going.
“It’s tough to win with only seven goals,” Kilgour said. “David Brock figured out a way to score two goals; I don’t know what happened to the rest of them.”
What’s more, Buffalo never did figure out how to put a string of goals together. They scored two straight goals a couple of times relatively late in the game. However, on four different occasions, the Knighthawks scored less than 40 seconds after Buffalo had tallied to firmly kill any momentum.
“This game is all about runs,” Vinc said. “We did a good job in showing our resilience.”
The win put both teams at 3-3 on the season. From a Buffalo perspective, it’s important to remember that it was just one game in a long season. Kilgour isn’t planning on having a fire of the game video, but he doesn’t want to dwell too much on it, either.
“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.”
Buffalo will try to do better on Saturday night in Rochester.