Bandits Outlast Mammoth In A Nail Biter

The Buffalo Bandits (9-7) went to Ball Arena to take on the Colorado Mammoth (5-10) on Friday for the second time this season.

The Bandits beat the Philadelphia Wings 18-12 last Saturday.  Josh Byrne and Dhane Smith combined for 22 points and propelled themselves into first and second in league scoring.  Buffalo’s roster has changed since their first meeting with the Mammoth on January 6th.  Sam La Roue and Adam Bomberry both returned to the team from injuries while Zach Belter also found a home on the roster. Connor Farrell was a free agent addition in March and Paul Dawson was a deadline deal.

The Mammoth have been led by their defense throughout the season.  Colorado has totaled 22 blocked shots in its last three games and over the season has averaged 6.2 blocks per game. The defensemen put their body on the line because of the system they have around goaltender Dillon Ward.  On the offensive end Eli McLaughlin leads the team with 75 points, and Connor Robinson with 51.

The goaltending match-up had Matt Vinc in net for the Bandits facing Dillon Ward in net for Colorado.

A strange half which saw the teams get on runs and trade leads in the first quarter, but then went over 15:00 minutes without a goal.  Connor Kelly finally got the Mammoth on the board with just 0:03 seconds left in the quarter to tie the game 5-5 at the half.

The play got noticeably chippier in the third quarter with Buffalo jumping out to a two goal lead.  Dhane Smith and Josh Byrne both were having good nights for the Bandits.  Connor Kelly and Zed Williams came to life in the fourth quarter aided by Buffalo’s undisciplined play to take the lead briefly, but Byrne and Smith ignited again, scoring back to back for the 13-11 victory.

To The Game:

The Bandits opened the scoring quickly with Dhane Smith taking it hard to the net at 0:48 seconds, followed by Justin Robinson scoring off the Connor Farrell faceoff win just 0:08 seconds later .  Chris Cloutier increased the Bandits lead with a bounced shot off a Chase Fraser feed at 1:33 to make it 3-0.

Colorado got on the board with Connor Kelly scoring in transition off a Tyson Gibson pass at 2:14, followed by a shorthanded goal from Dylan Kinnear with a no look shot off a Gibson feed at 5:12. 

The Mammoth tied the game with Eli McLaughlin scoring from in close off a rebound from a Zed Williams shot at 8:34.  Williams then joined the scoring with a laser from the side of the net on the power-play off a Tyson Gibson pass at 10:06.

Buffalo tied the game when Josh Byrne fired a low to low shot off a Dhane Smith pass on the power-play at 11:11, followed by Dhane Smith firing a shot to the far corner off a Josh Byrne pass at 12:57.

After one quarter, Buffalo 5 Colorado 4.

Second Quarter:

Connor Kelly finally broke the scoreless quarter on the final shot of the half.  A screen shot that went between the legs of Paul Dawson, eluding Matt Vinc at 14:57 to tie the game.

At the half, Buffalo 5 Colorado 5.

Third Quarter:

The Mammoth opened the second half scoring when Eli McLaughlin dove from behind the net off a Connor Robinson pass on the power-play at 4:28.  Buffalo tied the game when Chris Cloutier fored a side arm shot to the far side off a Josh Byrne pass at 7:28.

Tehoka Nanticoke fed Kyle Buchanan a beautiful pass that left him all alone in front.  Buchanan froze Dillon Ward with great stick work scoring at 13:40, followed by Dhane Smith’s third goal of the night off a Josh Byrne feed at 14:58.

After three quarters, Buffalo 8 Colorado 6.

Fourth Quarter:

Buffalo got into penalty trouble to start the fourth quarter.   Connor Kelly scored with a bounce shot while on a two man advantage off a Zed Williams pass at 1:27, but Tehoka Nanticoke answered back shorthanded diving across the crease off a Josh Byrne feed at 2:42. 

Connor Robinson then scored for Colorado on the power-play of a Connor Kelly pass at 3:02, followed by Connor Kelly’s fourth goal of the night converting a Tyson Gibson pass at 3:22. 

Zed Williams added his second of the night from in front of the night off a Dylan Kinnear pass at 4:08. But Josh Byrne got his own rebound and made no mistake to tie the game again at 4:24.  Zed Williams then scored his third of the night off a Jordan Gilles pass at 5:02 giving the Mammoth an 11-10 lead.

Josh Byrne again fired a low to low shot to the shortside at 7:57 off a Dhane Smith pass to tie the game, then Smith headed to the net like a freight train to take the lead off a Chris Cloutier feed at 9:17.  Dhane Smith put the game on ice scoring into the empty net at 14:47 for the Bandits win.

Final score, Buffalo 13 Colorado 11.

The Three Stars:

1. Josh Byrne
2. Dhane Smith
3. Connor Kelly

Game Stats:

  • Shots on goal were even at 43-43.
  • The faceoffs battle was won by Buffalo 15-12.
  • The loose ball battle went to Buffalo 68-59.
  • Buffalo went 3 for 6 on the power-play, while Colorado went 4 for 6.  Both teams scored a shorthanded goal.

Top Scorers:

Buffalo Bandits:

  • Josh Byrne 3g, 4a
  • Dhane Smith 5g, 1a
  • Chris Cloutier 2g, 4a

Colorado Mammoth:

  • Connor Kelly 4g, 1a
  • Zed Williams 3g, 2a
  • Tyson Gibson 0g, 5a

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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.