Knighthawks Advance to East Division Finals

(May 8, 2015)... The Rochester Knighthawks will continue their fight for a fourth straight Champion’s Cup after defeating the Buffalo Bandits Friday night, 14-11, in the East Division Semifinals.

“Coming in you knew the Bandits were a great team,” Knighthawks forward Cody Jamieson said. “They came in on a streak that not many teams did and they gave us everything we could handle. (Anthony) Cosmo stood on his head and made a lot of great saves. Their offense put a lot of goals up, more than we’re used to. It feels great to move on and we’re looking forward to starting against Toronto.”

By the time the buzzer sounded to end the first quarter, Jordan Hall had already picked up a hat trick. Joe Resetarits also had a stellar night, scoring his first of four goals 30 seconds after Hall’s first goal. This gave the Knighthawks their first lead of the game, which they would never relinquish. 

“We did a great job,” said Resetarits. ”When they went on their runs, we matched them right away. We did a great job at matching their intensity. We knew it was going to be a great game.”

“(He brought) energy,” said Knighthawks forward Dan Dawson. “I think he had a little something to prove. I think Joe kind of made a statement tonight. He’s a competitor and he’s a big reason why we won tonight.” 

Jamieson, who had a nine-point night (2+7), struck next to extend Rochester’s lead to three goals. Hall finished the scoring for the Knighthawks in the first on the power play before Buffalo was able to get its second of the game to finish off the first quarter.

Cory Vitarelli made a statement scoring his first of the night just 55 seconds into the second frame. Buffalo chipped away with two goals, but Jamieson wouldn’t let them get closer, scoring his second of the game at the 5:01 mark of the second. Another two goals from the Bandits was shut down by Vitarelli’s second of the game that went through the five-hole of Buffalo goaltender Anthony Cosmo to close out the first half with a two-goal lead (8-6) for the Knighthawks.

In the third, Resetarits netted his second of the night as he fought back a defender and beat Cosmo for a 9-7 lead. But he wasn’t done there. The Rochester forward went on to score twice more in the quarter against his former team to finish with a career-best four goals.

“When you’ve got all those guys it’s just a matter of time before you put them in,” Resetarits said. “You’re going to get a lot of chances with this team. When you focus on Cody and Dan, who are two of the greatest players in the world, it opens it up for everybody else. It was just a really great game. Everyone really stepped up.”

Dawson closed out scoring in the third with a power-play goal off of a feed from Jamieson to give the Knighthawks a 12-9 lead heading into the final 15 minutes. He finished off the night with six points (1+5). 

“When we execute for 60 minutes and hold a lead like that throughout the whole game it’s very important,” Dawson said. “They had some runs, but we answered all night tonight and that was the biggest difference.” 

After the Bandits made it a two-goal game, Vitarelli scored on the wrap-around to make it 13-10, 3:09 into the final quarter. Stephen Keogh added a late goal in a 14-11 victory. 

“He got lots of opportunities and finally one dropped for him,” Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen said. “It was well-needed and it seemed like a long time coming for him.”

While the Knighthawks offense did their job scoring timely goals, the defensive unit, led by netminder Matt Vinc, fought hard to block shots and get into lanes to hold off the Bandits. Vinc finished the night with 44 saves, including key saves in the last five minutes of the game. 

“That’s playoff lacrosse there. You’ve got to put it all on the line there,” Knighthawks defenseman Sid Smith said. “It’s win or go home so you don’t want to regret not doing everything you could to help the team win.”

“Those guys do what they do. They make it hard, they get in lanes and do their best to help ‘V’ see that ball and make those easy saves. I thought they were real good at picking their spots and at the end of the day they shut the door when they had to. I thought that was great, especially the last five minutes of that fourth.”

Rochester advances to battle the Toronto Rock on Saturday May 16th at 7:30 p.m. in the East Division Finals. Fans can purchase tickets to the game by calling the Knighthawks office at (585) 454-HAWK (4295).

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