Bandits End Rock Undefeated Streak With Big Fourth Quarter

The Buffalo Bandits (4-3) traveled to FirstOntario Centre on Saturday to take on the Toronto Rock (5-1) in front of 8,586 fans.

Two high powered offenses will be facing each other.  What is overlooked most of the time is how strong each team’s defense/transition is.  Steve Priolo, Nick Weiss, Matt Spanger, Dylan Robinson and Ian Mackay lead a feisty Bandits group.   The Rock answer with Mitch de Snoo, Brandon Slade, Challen Rogers, Phil Mazzuca, Brad Kri and Bill Hostrawser. 

Nick Rose has been stellar this year with at GAA of .860, and a save % of 83%.  Matt Vinc has an 11.77 GAA, and a save % of 77%.

“They want to beat us, and I get why. We need to be the underdogs. We need to play like that,” Smith said. “Toronto’s a great team so we’re looking forward to the matchup. It’s very easy to get up for Toronto. We don’t like them, and they don’t like us.”

Quote courtesy of the Buffalo Bandits

The Bandits and Rock have played each other 65 times in the regular season since 1999. In the last 10 years, they have played a total of 34 times including playoffs, with Buffalo holding a 19-15 record in that time. It is a rivalry through and through and there is no love lost when the Bandits head up north.

The goaltending matchup had Matt Vinc of Buffalo facing Nick Rose of the Rock.

A first quarter that only yielded one goal was not indicative of how the rest of the game would go.  The Bandits got out to an 8-4 lead at the half with Steve Priolo (2g,2a) and Chase Fraser (4g,1a) leading the way.

The Rock played the third like they were on fire.  Three goals in three minutes had them within one of the Bandits.  Dhane Smith stopped the Rock four goal run, but another three goal run had Toronto in the lead after three 10-9.

Penalty trouble at the end of the third had the Rock defense playing hard for the first five minutes of the fourth.   Even though the Bandits only got one goal on the power-play, the defense was taxed.  Buffalo scored one at the end of the power-play, then three quick goals just after, changing the complexion of the game.  By the time it was said and done, the Bandits had a six goal lead on a seven goal run.  The Rock kept battling and scored four at the end of the game, bit it was too little, too late.  Buffalo wins 16-14.

To The Game:

Buffalo opened the scoring shorthanded when Ian MacKay went coast to coast all alone at 2:16. 

The rest of the quarter was a track meet, with end to end action.  However, both defenses were strong yeilding no more goals.

After one quarter, Buffalo 1 Toronto 0.

Second Quarter:

The Bandits opened the second quarter scoring on the power-play when Chase Fraser was able to convert a Josh Byrne pass at 2:00, followed by Josh Byrne with a laser off a Chris Cloutier feed at 4:07.

Toronto got on the board when Dan Craig found the top corner off a Nick Rose long lead pass at 4:52, but the Bandits answered right back when Brandon Robinson scored with a Floater shot over Nick Rose’s shoulder at 5:15.

Justin Martin scored for Toronto on a breakaway with a high shot to the shortside off a Bill Hostrawser pass at 5:42.  Again, the Bandits answered in transition. Steve Priolo converted a Kyle Buchanan pass at 6:13.

Buffalo increased the lead when Tehoka Nanticoke fired a low to low shot off a Chris Cloutier pass at 10:24, but the Rock answered when Dan Lintner fired a shot from in close unassisted at 11:08. 

The Bandits scored their next one off a strange play.  Kyle Buchanan was able to grab a rebound from behind the net and feed Steve Priolo in front.  Priolo made no mistake at 12:48.  Buffalo added to their lead when Chase Fraser finished a Chris Cloutier pass at 14:26, but Toronto answered when Dan Craig scored with just 0:01:4 seconds left in the quarter.

At the half, Buffalo 8 Toronto 4.

Third Quarter:

The Rock got on the board immediately when Phil Mazzuca scored just 0:08 seconds into the quarter, followed by Mark Matthews with a blast from the side of the net off a Challen Rogers feed at 1:16.  Chris Boushy added a power-play goal with a quick stick off a Mark Matthews pass at 3:15.

Dhane Smith gave the Bandits a little breathing room when he fired a laser to the shortside off a Tehoka Nanticoke pass at 7:56.  Dan Lintner answered for the Rock diving across the crease off a Chris Weier pass at 10:20, then tied the game on a dive from behind the net from Chris Boushy off a Tom Schreiber feed at 10:37.

The Rock took their first lead of the night when Corey Small fired a howitzer from the outside off a Chris Boushy pass at 13:54.

With 0:30 seconds left in the quarter, the Rock got themselves in penalty trouble.  Bill Hostrawser took a two minute penalty for holding, and Phil Mazzuca took a five minute penalty for an illegal crosscheck to Chase Fraser.

After three quarters, Toronto 10 Buffalo 9.

Fourth Quarter:

Buffalo opened the scoring on the power-play when Kyle Buchanan finished a Chris Cloutier pass at 4:13, followed by Chase Fraser with a behind the back shot off a Nick Weiss pass at 5:15. 

Brandon Robinson increased the lead off a Dhane Smith pass at 5:41.  The Bandits added to the lead with Tehoka Nanticoke scoring off a Chase Fraser pass at 8:00, followed by another Chase Fraser low to low shot off a Tehoka Nanticoke feed at 9:36.  Ian MacKay then scored into an empty net off a Steve Priolo pass at 11:04.

Troy Holowchuk went into the goal for Toronto.

Dhane Smith scored into an empty net off a Nick Weiss pass at 12:22.

The Rock made a final push.  Chris Boushy scored his third of the game off a Tom Schreiber pass at 13:15, then his fourth off a Schreiber feed as well at 14:00.  Tom Schreiber then scored off a Brad Kri pass at 14:17, followed by Schreiber again firing a howitzer from the outside off a Dan Craig pass at 14:43.

That was as close as it would get.

Final score, Buffalo 16 Toronto 14.

The Three Stars:

1. Chase Fraser

2. Josh Byrne

3. Ian MacKay

Game Stats:

  • Shots on goal were 55-52 in favor of the Bandits.
  • The faceoff battle was won by Buffalo 22-11.
  • The loose ball battle had the Bandits win 82-65.
  • Buffalo went 3 for 8 on the power-play, scoring a shorthanded goal.
  • Toronto went 1 for 4 on the power-play.

Top Scorers:

Buffalo Bandits:

  • Josh Byrne 1g, 6a
  • Dhane Smith 2g, 4a
  • Chris Cloutier 0g, 6a

Toronto Rock:

  • Tom Schreiber 2g, 4a
  • Dan Craig 2g, 2a
  • Chris Boushy 4g, 1a

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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.