Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bandits Smear Knighthawks

The Bandits/Knighthawks game last night was an absolute blowout.  The Knighthawks showed they are a bigger mess last night and need something to come together if this team is going to be competitive at all.  The Bandits won 23-6 last night at the Bank and the main reason for the collapse by the Knighthawks was just their lack of defense.

This 17 goal difference was the worst loss in Knighthawk history and the 23 goals scored also set a Knighthawk record.  For the Bandits, this game does not quite make the record books in goal differential, that is held by the Charlotte Cobras in 1996.

In terms of the offense of this game, the Bandits brought it first and basically all night.  Mark Steenhuis was the leader of the offense scoring 8 goals of his own and ending up with 13 points on the night.  Steenhuis now leads the league in goals with 15 and points with 25. The secondary scorers also showed up with Vyse scoring 5 times and Sean Greenhalgh scoring his first goal as a Bandit on his way to a hat trick.  This Bandits offense is starting to hit its stride after looking somewhat shaky in the first two games.  23 goals is a good way to make your mark on a night.  The special teams for the Bandits was good as well, scoring twice shorthanded and also picking up one on the powerplay.  For a team that scored 87% of their goals heading into this game on even strength, it is good to see the special teams contribute.

An overlooked part of a 23 goal game was how well Ken Montour played.  Mike Thompson was supposed to start the game last night, but was not feeling well with a case of the flu.  So Montour stepped in and looked amazing again allowing 6 goals on 54 shots.  Even though Kilgour has said that he will use a goalie rotation, you would have to think that Montour has the hold on the starting job as of now with as well as he has been playing.  For the season, Montour has a 6.00 GAA with an .871 SV% which leads the league.  The Bandit defense themselves played really well in the first half when the game was still close allowing only three goals per half.  Gary Gait was shut out of the score sheet only registering three assists on the night. 

For the Knighthawks, nothing looked good and the defense ended up quitting towards the end of the 4th quarter.  Shawn Evans was the major player for the Hawks all night.  Evans scored three goals, assisted on another, and then drew a fighting major out of Brandon Francis by turtling, and then actually dropping the gloves with Ian Llord.  Evans ended up drawing an aggressor penalty which then drew the game misconduct.  The Hawks were outmanned physically all night, getting beat up and outworked on the floor.  When they did draw penalties though, they were able to capitalize on them, going 4 for 10 on the powerplay.  Although, they also gave up two shorthanded goals as well.

If I were a Knighthawk fan, one thing I could take out of this game was if Pat O’Toole was in this game, it would not have been this out of control.  Derek Collins and Phil Wetherup looked very, very average out there.  Their defense did them no favors, but they also gave up some very weak goals on the floor as well.  When O’Toole comes back, this team will be more dangerous, but they will also be out of the playoff hunt.  Next up for the Knighthawks is a cross country flight to play the San Jose Stealth on Sunday.  The Stealth are weak themselves so this could be a good rebound game for the Hawks.  For Buffalo, it is a three game road trip that starts on Thursday against the Minnesota Swarm and then on Saturday against the Edmonton Rush.  The Bandits need to keep playing the type of game that they are playing right now and also need to keep playing as a team and they will be a very hard team to beat. 

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