The Rochester Knighthawks made it a perfect two for two on the weekend after beating the Buffalo Bandits on Saturday 15-7. Rochester doubled up both opponents this weekend with a 20-10 win over Philadelphia on Friday as well. With the two wins, Rochester improves their record to 3-3 and move up to third place in the Eastern Division.
After starting the season with just 39 goals in four games, Rochester scored 35 in their last two. Many fans have been wondering "what did they change?" It's hard to put your thumb on the answer. The Knighthawks are just playing better overall. Pretty much everything seemed to be going their way in both games this past weekend. Even getting into penalty trouble wasn't a problem - they killed off all six Bandit power plays.
One major contributing factor to the turnaround is that their star players are finally starting to put up the huge numbers fans expected from them. Dan Dawson had 11 points (4G + 7A) against Philadelphia on Friday and another 5 points (1G + 4A) against Buffalo. Cody Jamieson had 7 points (3G +4A) against Philly and then 9 points (2G +7A) against Buffalo. Mike Accursi scored four goals against Philadelphia which Cory Vitarelli then matched the next night with four goals against Buffalo.
Matt Vinc has also been on fire. Vino made 49 saves on 59 shots against the Wings and then turned aside 48 of 55 shots against Buffalo (which earned him the game MVP). The Bandits actually won more faceoffs, had more shots on goal, and picked up more loose balls but still couldn't beat Vinc. This is why Rochester won the game. In fact, Vinc's ridiculous .812 save percentage currently leads the National Lacrosse League among all starting goaltenders.
So were these two games a fluke or have the Knighthawks turned a corner and finally figured things out? The answer may come this weekend as Rochester takes on the Buffalo Bandits for the third time of the season on Saturday. As John Gurtler, Buffalo's play-by-play announcer, remarked during the game, the Bandits will be studying film from this recent loss and will most likely devise a new game plan for the Knighthawks on Saturday. Will Rochester be able to repeat their dominant performance? If so, we could be looking at a championship team.