Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
WNY RIVALRY ON DISPLAY SATURDAY
01/17/2013 - 10:13am

By Travis Larner --

There is no shortage of intriguing storylines for the 46th installment of the New York State Thruway rivalry between the Buffalo Bandits and the Rochester Knighthawks.

Most notably, the Knighthawks (0-1), who will host the Bandits (1-1) on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET at The Blue Cross Arena, are raising their 2012 National Lacrosse League championship banner in a pregame ceremony. The Knighthawks defeated the Edmonton Rush by a score of 9-6 for the Champion’s Cup last May for their first title win on home turf.

“I have some mixed emotions,” said Rochester defenseman Mike Kirk. “I think we all remember that was last year and we’ve all moved on to 2013. We’ll take the banner and have that moment, but we’re really looking forward to battling with Buffalo.”

Fans can watch the game live on NLL on YouTube via The Lacrosse Network. It is also being televised live in the Rochester area on the Time Warner Cable Sports channel.

“We did not play very well [in opener] and we have to be better in Week 3 against Buffalo,” said Rochester head coach Mike Hasen, whose team lost 13-12 on the road to the Washington Stealth in Week 1. “As [Kirk] said, we’ll take a moment to relish what we did last year, but we got a long road ahead of us.”

The Knighthawks, who own a 9-9 all-time record in home openers, have lost their last two opening games at The Blue Cross Arena. Coincidentally, their last home-opening win was against the Bandits on Jan. 9, 2010.

Former NLL MVP Casey Powell is expected to make his season debut with Rochester after being ruled out of the season opener in Washington on Jan. 5 with a calf injury. Powell is only five points away from 600 career points. The former Syracuse University All-American has scored at least 80 points in his last five seasons prior to sitting out last year.

Shawn Williams, a member of Rochester’s 2007 championship team and former team captain, is returning to Rochester for the first time as a Bandit since 2001. With the Edmonton Rush last season, Williams earned a pair of assists in the Champion’s Cup final. After being traded to Minnesota, Williams was sent to Buffalo for a first-round draft pick in the 2012 NLL Entry Draft.

On Wednesday, Rochester signed former Bandit goaltender Angus Goodleaf to a one-year contract, pending league approval. Goodleaf spent the last three seasons as the Bandits’ backup netminder. Meanwhile in Buffalo, the Bandits appear to be having problems with their goaltending situation.

Anthony Cosmo has started both of Buffalo’s games this season, but has yet to finish one in the net. In just over 35 minutes of playing time, Cosmo has an 18.48 goals against average. However, his counterpart Kurtis Wagar has stepped up in relief by posting a 9.25 GAA. The Bandits invested two first-round picks in Cosmo, but the former All-Pro goaltender has not performed well as of late.

While Hasen admits he hopes to see his offense fluster Buffalo’s goalies this weekend, he is more worried about his team’s preparation rather than game planning against a specific netminder.

“We’re just preparing like we do every other game,” he said. “We’re going to really worry about what we want to do and how we’re going to create space to get the open looks. If we can do that, I’m fairly confident that the guys can find the back of the net more often than not. That’s our main concern.”

Joe Walters, a Rochester native, was able to match his career-high of four points against Washington with two goals and two assists. In 2012, the Knighthawks were 5-0 in home games with Walters in the lineups and he scored 19 points (4+15) in those contests.

On the opposite end of the floor, Hasen’s defense struggled in the first game of the season versus the Stealth as Washington outshot Rochester 64-47.

On the bright side, the Knighthawks shutdown Washington’s power play unit. In the second quarter, Tyler Burton was assessed a five-minute major for high-sticking. Rochester finished the man-down situation with a shorthanded goal from Scott Campbell on one of many intercepted passes by the Knighthawks.

Although Matt Vinc finished with the same box score as he did in the semifinal victory over Toronto in last year’s playoffs – 51 saves and a .797 save percentage – he was handed a loss despite winning NLL Defensive Player of the Week for Week #1.

“I think we got away from our principles,” Kirk said. “If you watch the film, like Buffalo probably has, we were just spread out, we weren’t helping each other and watching them capitalize on our mistakes. We’ve talked about it, we’ve had a couple practices under our belt, so it’s something hopefully we can improve upon this weekend.”


5/25/2013
Syracuse men's lacrosse pulls off another one-goal victory, advances to national title game with 9-8 win over Denver

12/19/2014
Syracuse lacrosse schedule: Orange will face six teams in preseason top 10

12/18/2014
Transcript of Q&A with Syracuse University athletic director Daryl Gross

12/17/2014
Syracuse lacrosse: Comparing the Orange to its peers over the last 10 years

12/14/2014
An analysis of athletic director Daryl Gross' 10 years running Syracuse University sports

12/14/2014
Syracuse athletics: The Orange before and during AD Daryl Gross' first decade

12/12/2014
Syracuse great Jim Brown praises LeBron James, other athletes for speaking out against injustice

12/9/2014
Syracuse lacrosse has four players named to Inside Lacrosse's Preseason All-American teams

10/17/2014
Syracuse men's lacrosse gets first-ever commitment from high school freshman

10/10/2014
Syracuse lacrosse names five captains for 2015 season

9/23/2014
Syracuse University men's lacrosse team will compete in two fall events

9/11/2014
Syracuse University men's lacrosse recruiting class includes two JUCO players of the year

8/22/2014
Former Orange lacrosse stars Casey Powell, John Galloway honored by MLL

7/10/2014
FIL World Lacrosse Championships: TV channels, times and schedule for U.S. and Iroquois

6/30/2014
Former Syracuse midfielder Matt Abbott makes Team USA world championship lacrosse team

6/24/2014
Albany's Thompson trio, Syracuse's Randy Staats highlight Iroquois world championship roster

6/2/2014
Syracuse selected No. 3 in Lacrosse Magazine's early 2015 rankings

5/29/2014
ACC reveals new logo to creative reviews (What they're saying)

5/27/2014
Syracuse lacrosse finishes No. 8 in Warrior's season-ending media poll

5/22/2014
Syracuse lacrosse's Kevin Rice, Brandon Mullins named USILA Second Team All-Americans

5/13/2014
Syracuse men's lacrosse will bring back loaded roster next season