Bandits Execution Of Game Plan Controls Rock

Gary Groob

Lax Philly – A Division of Edge of Philly Sports Network

The Toronto Rock (2-2) started the new year by visiting their rivals just south of the border, the Buffalo Bandits (3-0).  Both teams have had good starts to the season, and this was shaping up to be a dandy of a game.  Toronto was without two of it’s most potent scorers with Dan Dawson put on the Covid-19 protocol list, and Tom Schreiber awaiting the birth of his first baby.  This was the Bandits charity game “Tucker Out Lymphoma”, honoring Tucker Williams, son of former Bandit, and Rock player Shawn Williams.  Tucker lost his battle with Burkitt’s Lymphoma back in 2014.  Both teams wore jerseys and shorts to commemorate the occasion.  These were being auctioned off online to help raise funds for the cause. 

The teams got together for a photo before the game.

First Quarter:

The game started off with both teams trying to get a feel for one another playing conservative.  

Josh Byrne (4g,3a) opened the scoring for the Bandits firing a Dhane Smith (1g,5a) feed past Rock goalie Nick Rose at 4:47, then scoring his second of the night on a screen shot from the outside at 6:09.  Chase Fraser (4g,0a) made it a three goal lead for the Bandits, firing an Ian MacKay pass top corner at 8:16. 

The Rock defense was a looking little flat footed in the quarter, with the Bandits taking full advantage pushing the tempo.

After one quarter, Bandits 3 Rock 0.

Photo courtesy of the Buffalo Bandits

Second Quarter:

Toronto finally got on the board on the power play, when Dan Craig (1g,2a) fired a Rob Hellyer pass past Matt Vinc (Bandits goalie) at 6:34, but Buffalo stormed back with Chase Fraser scoring his second of the night off a Chris Cloutier pass at 7:06. 

The game was starting to open up with end to end action.

Rock defenseman Latrell Harris pushed the ball up the floor finding a trailing Challen Rogers (2g,3a) in transition.  Rogers fired a screen shot past Vinc at 11:26 to cut the Bandits lead to 4-2.  Rob Hellyer (1g,2a) made a beautiful individual effort jumping across the crease putting the ball in at 13:22, followed by Challen Rogers scoring his second of the night, crashing the net for the tying goal 0:27 seconds later.

The Bandits got their lead back when Ian MacKay (1g,2a) converted a Kyle Buchanan pass at 14:08 stopping the Rock momentum.

Buffalo 5 Toronto 4 in what turned out to be a very entertaining half.

Photo courtesy of the Toronto Rock

Third Quarter:

The Bandits opened the second half increasing their lead.  Josh Byrne scored his third of the night on the power play at 4:26.  Dhane Smith (1g,5a) then scored on a delayed penalty to the Rock, off a Josh Byrne feed at 5:01 making the score 7-4 for Buffalo.

Tehoka Nanticoke of the Bandits took a five minute high sticking penalty, but instead of the Rock getting on track, Josh Byrne scored his fourth of the game shorthanded at 9:23 increasing the Bandits lead to 8-4 putting the Rock on the ropes.

Toronto got one back on the power play when Reid Reinholdt (2g,0a) quick sticked a Challen Rogers pass at 11:25, but the Bandits answered back on a power play of their own, when Chase Fraser scored his third of the game off a Josh Byrne pass at 14:16.

After three quarters, Bandits 9 Rock 5.

Fourth Quarter:

Chase Fraser opened the fourth quarter scoring getting his fourth of the night with a beautiful over the top swim move at 1:45.  Reid Reinholdt got one back for the Rock diving from behind the net putting it by Vinc at 3:29, but Tehoka Nanticoke (1g,1a) increased the Bandits lead to 11-6 on a great individual effort at 4:18.

Tempers finally boiled over with just over five minutes left in the game.  Brad Kri, Sheldon Burns, and Josh Jubenville for the Rock, Josh Byrne and Chase Fraser for the Bandits were the main combatants, with Buffalo coming away with another power play.  Chris Cloutier (1g,6a) scored a beauty of a goal from the edge of the crease off a Dhane Smith pass at 9:58 increasing the lead to 12-6.

The last few minutes saw more chippy play.  Bill Hostrawser won a decision over Jordan Stuoros, followed by Sheldon Burns fighting Brent Noseworthy to a draw.

Final score, Buffalo 12 Toronto 6

The Three Stars:

  1. Josh Byrne
  2. Chase Fraser
  3. Matt Vinc
  • Shots on Goal favored Toronto 51-50.
  • TD Ierlan went 18 for 22 in faceoffs for the Rock.
  • Toronto went 2 for 3 on the power play
  • Buffalo went 3 for 6 on the power play, also scoring a shorthanded goal.

Top Scorers,

Toronto:

Challen Rogers 2g, 3a
Dan Craig 1g, 2a
Rob Hellyer 1g, 2a

Buffalo:

Josh Byrne 4g, 3a
Chris Cloutier 1g, 6a
Dhane Smith 1g, 5a

Milestones:

  • Dhane Smith of the Bandits hit the 700 point mark in this game.
  • Josh Byrne of the Bandits hit the 100 assist mark in this game.
  • Rob Hellyer of the Rock moved to 5th all time in Rock franchise career goals with 218, passing Josh Sanderson.

The Toronto Rock’s next game is at home vs. the Halifax Thunderbirds Saturday, January 15th.

Buffalo’s next game is Saturday January 15th at home vs. the Georgia Swarm.

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 10 years ago. Through the podcasts, he made an association with Kevin Neibauer of Lax Philly, who convinced him to come on board and write for them. The rest 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.

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).

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

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