Bandits Continue To Find Ways To Win

Gary Groob
All Lacrosse All The Time  – A Division of Edge of Philly Sports Network

The Buffalo Bandits (9-2) traveled to Halifax to face the Thunderbirds (5-6) in the first game of a home-and-home series.

Dhane Smith (24G, 58 A) leads the league in scoring through the first half of the season, and is on pace to smash the record for points in a single season (137), which he holds.  The Bandits offensively will rely on Smith, Kyle Buchanan (12G, 30 A), and Tehoka Nanticoke (18G, 15A).  Ian MacKay (14G, 12A) is also always dangerous in transition.

For Halifax, their contributors have consisted of team leader in points Randy Staats, Clarke Petterson, and Ryan Benesch.  Jake Withers will play a big factor in the outcome of this matchup. Against a formidable draw man in Max Adler last time out, Withers went 28 of 35 at the stripe (80%). Withers still sits above the 80-percent clip for the season and has 145 loose balls. Ryan Terefenko (4G, 8A) also has 120 loosies in what is turning into the best year of his career to date. 

The goaltending match-up had Matt Vinc for Buffalo against Warren Hill for the Thunderbirds. 

Matt Vinc has started all 10 games between the pipes for the Bandits this season, maintaining a 10.54 goals-against average, and an .800 save percentage, as well as racking up 420 saves.  Playing in this game, Vinc will set a new NLL record with his 262nd game, passing Brandon Miller for most games all-time.

Warren Hill has primarily held down the crease for the Thunderbirds this season, posting a 4-4 record, 85 goals against, an average of 11.51 goals against per game, and 272 total saves.

The first half saw Buffalo jump out to a 3-0 lead off a natural hat-trick from Ian MacKay.   Halifax clawed their way back in the second quarter with goals from Shanks, and two from Benesch to tie the game.  Chris Boushy gave the Thunderbirds their first lead, but Nick Weiss tied it up on a great individual effort.  Tyson Bell blasted one home with only 0:35 seconds left to give the Thunderbirds the 5-4 lead at the half.

Three different lead changes in the second half found the Bandits up by two goals with just over five minutes left in the game.  Randy Staats brought the game within one goal, but try as the might, the Thunderbirds just couldn’t beat Matt Vinc again dropping the game 10-9.

To The Game:

The Bandits opened the first quarter scoring in transition with Ian MacKay scoring a natural hat-trick. His first was with a high to low shot beating Warren Hill off an Adam Bomberry pass at 3:01, followed by a quick stick off a Dylan Robinson feed at 7:42.  MacKay’s third goal was a beauty.  A shot from in close to the far side gave the Bandits a three goal lead at 8:59.

After one quarter, Buffalo 3 Halifax 0.

Second Quarter:

The Thunderbirds finally got on the board when Austin Shanks beat Matt Vinc with a blast to the shortside off a Randy Staats pass at 2:43.  Ryan Benesch added two power-play goals to tie the game.  A skip shot that bounced over Vinc’s shoulder at 7:36, followed by a blast from the top of the crease off a Staats feed at 10:32. 

Chris Boushy gave Halifax their first lead of the night with a quick stick off an Austin Shanks pass at 12:57, but a great individual by Nick Weiss tied the game with just 0:47 left in the half.  Tyson Bell scored his first of the year in transition for the Thunderbirds with an absolute howitzer that beat Vinc just 0:13 seconds later to end the quarter.

At the half, Halifax 5 Buffalo 4.

Third Quarter:

Nick Weiss scored his second of the game in transition with a beautiful individual effort unassisted at 4:10, followed by Dylan Robinson converting a Dhane Smith pass to the shortside 0:25 seconds later. 

Ryan Benesch’s third of the night, his 500th of his career, tied the game off a Cody Jamieson feed at 6:35, followed by Randy Staats converting a David Brock feed at 7:44. Cody Jamieson then beat Vinc with a low to low shot off a Clarke Petterson pass at 8:13. 

Dhane Smith scored twice in a row.  His first goal was off a Dalton Sulver pass at 11:03, followed by converting an Ian MacKay feed with just 0:22 seconds in the quarter.

After three quarters, Halifax 8 Buffalo 8.

Fourth Quarter:

Tehoka Nanticoke opened the scoring with a beautiful behind the back shot off a Matt Spanger pass at 3:23, followed by Dhane Smith’s third goal of the night firing to the top corner off a Kyle Buchanan pass at 4:40. 

Halifax fought back again when Randy Staats, with a great individual effort, converted a Clarke Petterson pass at 9:35 but couldn’t beat Vinc again to tie the game.

Final score, Buffalo 10 Halifax 9.


The Three Stars:

  1. Dhane Smith
  2. Ian MacKay
  3. Ryan Benesch

Game Stats:

  • Shots on goal favored Buffalo 48-46.
  • Faceoffs were tied 11-11.
  • The loose ball battle went to the Bandits  63-62.
  • Halifax went 2 for 3 on the power-play, while Buffalo went 1 for 1.

Top Scorers:

Buffalo Bandits:

  • Dhane Smith 3G, 2A
  • Ian MacKay 3G, 2A
  • Nick Weiss 2G, 0A

Halifax Thunderbirds:

  • Randy Staats 2G, 3A
  • Ryan Benesch 3G, 1A
  • Cody Jamieson 1G, 2A

Don’t forget to check us out every Sunday night at 9pm (ET)

Gary Groob
Gary Groob

Gary Groob has been involved with Lacrosse for the majority of his life, whether playing, coaching, or covering the sport for the media.

An avid fan, with a real drive about helping to “grow the game”, Gary became part of podcasts about the game in 2010. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob was given an opportunity to write about lacrosse, and the rest as they say, is history.

Through many miles (flying and driving) Gary has made inroads with the National Lacrosse League, Major Series Lacrosse League, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, as well as the Arena Lacrosse League, covering the leagues, their teams, and players, working for, and in concert with all of them.

In the year 2020, Mr. Groob was made the media person for the Arena Lacrosse League, voted onto the board of directors of the Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club, as well as being made administrator of the Lacrosse page “Global Lacrosse” with a membership of 9000 members in over 90 Countries. Gary was also made an administrator of Lacrosse History Past Present and Future in 2022.

Mr. Groob co-hosts a weekly Lacrosse show on Spanglish Sports World, and ZingoTV channel 250, as well as writes a weekly lacrosse column for La Portada Canada News (both in print, and online).

Gary also hosts a Lacrosse talk show and podcast for The Edge of Philly Sports Network, seen live Sunday nights at 9pm (ET), and archived on the Edge of Philly YouTube page, as well as Spotify.

Mr. Groob’s other sports interests include Hockey, Football, Boxing, Wrestling, and Baseball, competing competitively in Boxing and Wrestling for many years.