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Bandits live blog from Rochester

7:10 p.m. -- Hello from Rochester. The drive on the Thruway was uneventful, my computer is up and running, and we are almost ready for lacrosse.

The Bandits are coming off a nice win against Toronto last week, and Rochester beat Philadelphia in a wild one in its first game. So ... this game is for first place in the NLL East. I know, Buffalo's fans aren't used to seeing one of their own in first place. We'll see how it goes tonight.

We have one lineup change from last week. Buffalo will sit Brandon Francis this week and dress Roger Vyse. Jeremy Thompson ought to take most of the draws. Frank Resetarits and Tom Montour also are sitting.

Mike Thompson is the starter in goal. He was the league's defensive player last week for his outstanding play.

8:04 p.m. -- I almost shot my computer in the past half hour, thanks to connection problems. But we seem to be back up and runnning. It's 1-1 early in the second quarter. Luke Wiles has the Buffalo goal. Mike Thompson has played very well.

I can't wait to see what Rochester looks like. The Knighthawks tied for first in the East last season, but blew up the roster. They got much younger in the process. Johnny Powless was a heralded rookie coming into the league, and Rochester traded up to get him in the draft. He had three goals and two assists last week against Philadelphia.

8:07 p.m. -- The Bandits are on a five-minute power play. After John Tavares took a hit, a funny thought hit me -- just read an article on Gordie Howe's last year, at age 52, in the NHL. No one wanted to hit him then, and not just because of age. Wonder if John would like that sort of status in his 40's?

8:15 p.m. -- The Knighthawks killed off the penalty. Plenty of action here, just not much scoring.

8:21 p.m. -- Somebody heard me. The teams have traded goals to make it 2-2, with Mark Steenhuis scoring for Buffalo and Alex Hill for Rochester. I've been trying to figure out how Steenhuis is being used, but it's not like the old days when he was out for every major offensive situation. And as I type, both teams add another goal. Four goals in 57 seconds.

8:29 p.m. -- We made it to halftime, and the Bandits have a 4-3 lead. Steenhuis has two goals to lead the way  -- one on a drive to the net, the other on a breakaway.

8:54 p.m. -- The pattern continues -- Bandits take a lead, the Knighthawks come right back. We're at 5-5 midway through the third quarter.

9:03 p.m. -- I'm starting to think these teams are well-matched. Neither side has had more than a two-goal lead. Just as Rochester picked up its first goal of the game, Tavares responded with a good shot frm the right side. So ... it's 6-6. I've seen some close games in this building over the last four years; I guess the tradition continues.

9:14 p.m. -- Chad Culp and Tavares have put Buffalo back up in front, 8-6. Johnny T. looks particularly sharp tonight. And again, while typing this, the Knighthawks score to cut it to one.

9:31 p.m. -- Bandits have a 12-9 lead with 3:27 left. Tavares is up to four goals, and it took two late scores by the Knighthawks to make it this close. Still, this one isn't quite in the books.

Postgame -- Oh yes it is, as the Bandits held off the Knighthawks the rest of the way to win their second straight.

Tavares took plenty of bows after the game for his fine work, as you'll see in my story. Just when the game was up for grabs, John grabbed it. Just amazing.

More computer problems around the end of the game, as the machine and wifi network stopped talking again. It's nice to be home.

--- Budd Bailey

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