Knighthawks fall to Bandits

By Jeremy Pike

NLL – The Rochester Knighthawks dropped a 16-14 decision to the rival Buffalo Bandits at Connors & Ferris Field at The Blue Cross Arena Saturday night.

The annual Military Appreciation Night brought in a season-high of 9,425 fans to downtown Rochester to watch the two teams face off. Fans were able to bid on game-worn, military-themed jerseys worn by both teams. Each Knighthawks jersey also sported a special patch, representing a specific member of the military that was deployed overseas.

“It’s an incredible opportunity for us,” said Knighthawks forward Cory Vitarelli. “It’s a privilege and honor because people sacrifice their lives and put their lives on the line for their country and the good life we live. For us to have the opportunity to wear them is awesome and special, and to have the patch that’s more specific is something you enjoy wearing. It brings a lot of pride.”

Rochester (2-5) was led on the field by a six-point night from Joe Resetarits (2+4), who for the second season in a row led the team out onto the field carrying the American flag. Vitarelli scored a team-high four goals to move into sixth place on the team’s all-time goal-scoring list. Graeme Hossack and Kyle Jackson each netted a goal to go along with an assist. Brad Gillies, Austin Shanks and Luc Magnan each added single markers in the effort.

The night started off with Rochester putting up the first two goals within 30 seconds of each other as Magnan and Kyle Jackson scored at 4:19 and 4:49, respectively. Buffalo’s Dhane Smith and Mitch Jones answered back shortly after to tie it up.

That would be the theme for most of the game until the Bandits went on a seven-goal run between the third and fourth quarters to take a 15-10 lead. Rochester mounted a late comeback by scoring four of game’s final five goals.

“We believe in ourselves and we know we’re right there, so we’ve just got to continue to work toward it,” said Vitarelli. “It’s a fine line between winning and losing, and we’ve just got to find that line.”

The Knighthawks will be home again on Saturday, Feb. 10 when they take on the Toronto Rock at 8:00 p.m. at Connors & Ferris Field at The Blue Cross Arena.

“We’ve got to get back to work,” said Knighthawks forward Cody Jamieson. “Everybody is working hard, but we’re just not getting the result that we’re looking for. We’ve just got to win.”

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