The Buffalo Bandits (4-1) traveled to the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado to face the Mammoth (4-4) in National Lacrosse League (NLL) action. Buffalo was looking to build off a character win against the Toronto Rock last week, while Colorado was looking to move up in the standings after splitting their two games last week, narrowly losing to Vancouver while handily beating Saskatchewan.
The teams put on a show for the “Loud House” faithful of 10,994 with Josh Byrne and Ryan Lee having brilliant evening’s for their respective teams. The game went to overtime, with Buffalo coming out the winner 13-12.
Buffalo got off to a quick start in the first quarter when Josh Byrne (7g,1a) scored at just 0:32 seconds unassisted, but the Mammoth came back when Dylan Molloy (1g,2a) scored his first NLL goal off a Chris Wardle pass at 2:22, followed by Ryan Lee (5g,0a) giving them the lead on the powerplay, converting an Eli McLaughlin pass at 3:11. Josh Byrne scored his second of the night with a beautiful behind the back shot off a Corey Small pass at 4:45, to tie the game up at two.
Colorado had been guilty of starting slow in previous games, but both teams came out with lots of jump and intensity from the start, getting many quality opportunities. Dillon Ward (Mammoth goalie), and Matt Vinc (Bandits goalie) were both in the zone in this game, continually making exceptional saves.
In transition, Kevin Brownell (1g,0a) took a Mitch de Snoo pass, firing an overhand outside shot at Ward, who made the initial save. The momentum of the shot, however, had the ball trickle into the net, giving the Bandits a 3-2 lead at 9:31. Brent Noseworthy (1g,1a) scored his first NLL goal when he converted a Dhane Smith pass at 12:24 adding to the Buffalo lead, but Dylan Kinnear (2g,0a) scored off a Dylan Molloy feed to narrow the score to just one goal at 13:37.
After one quarter, Buffalo 4 Colorado 3.
The Bandits got off to a quick start in the second quarter when Josh Byrne got his third of the night off a Corey Small pass at 0:25 seconds, followed by Corey Small (2g,3a) himself scoring at 0:58 seconds converting a Dhane Smith pass, giving Buffalo a 6-3 lead.
Buffalo was awarded a penalty shot when Joey Cupido of the Mammoth, jumped off the bench early to try and stop a Bandits breakaway. Josh Byrne took the shot, juking and jiving, scoring his fourth of the game at 3:55.
Both defenses became very stingy at this point yielding very few quality chances, keeping the offenses primarily to the outside.
Ryan Lee got one back for the Mammoth when he scored his second of the night at 11:42 diving across the crease stopping the Bandits five goal run.
Buffalo challenged the call on the floor, but due to inconclusive evidence, the goal was upheld.
At the half, Buffalo 7 Colorado 4.
Josh Byrne opened the third quarter scoring when he quick sticked a Garrett Billings pass for his fifth of the night at 2:54, but Ryan Lee scored his third of the night firing a laser off a Chris Wardle pass 0:24 seconds later, making the score 8-5 for Buffalo. Lee scored his fourth of the game on the powerplay, converting an Eli McLaughlin pass at 8:09 followed by Kyle Killen (2g,1a) narrowing the score to 8-7 scoring off a Jacob Ruest pass at 9:14.
Buffalo gave themselves some breathing room when Steve Priolo (1g,0a) went coast to coast scoring in transition just 0:19 seconds later.
Ryan Lee scored his fifth of the game for the Mammoth, blowing a shot past Matt Vinc converting a Chris Wardle pass at 12:59
After three quarters, Buffalo 9 Colorado 8.
For the fourth straight quarter, Josh Byrne opened the scoring for the Bandits, achieving his stock-trick (6 goals), on a Dhane Smith pass at 0:34 seconds, but Kyle Killen got it back for the Mammoth when he scored his second of the night off an Eli McLaughlin pass at 5:33.
Chase Fraser (1g,1a) showed what second efforts, and never giving up on the play was all about when he battled for a loose ball, got it, and put it in the far corner of the net while diving to the crease for the goal at 7:48.
Dylan Kinnear scored his second of the night bringing the Mammoth within one goal again, converting a Joey Cupido pass at 9:49, followed by Eli McLaughlin (1g,6a) scoring the tying goal off a Kyle Killen pass at 10:28. Jacob Ruest (1g,3a) gave Colorado the lead converting a Chris Wardle pass at 10:53.
With Matt Vinc on the bench, Josh Byrne fired a howitzer past Dillon Ward for his seventh of the night off a Dhane Smith pass at 13:57 tying the game 12-12.
The assist was Dhane Smith’s 400th career assist.
After regulation time, Buffalo 12 Colorado 12.
In overtime both teams had opportunities, but after a timeout called by Buffalo, Corey Small was able to sneak a shot off the post, just past Dillon Ward for the Bandits Victory at 1:59.
Shots on goal was in favor of Colorado 53-50.
The loose ball battle went to Buffalo 80-67.
Faceoffs slightly favored the Bandits 16-13.
Buffalo went 0 for 1 on the powerplay, but scored on a penalty shot.
Colorado went 2 for 2 on the powerplay.
The Three Stars:
1. Josh Byrne……….Buffalo
2. Ryan Lee………….Colorado
3. Eli McLaughlin….Colorado
Josh Byrne 7g, 1a
Dhane Smith 0g, 6a
Corey Small 2g, 3a
Chris Wardle 0g, 8a
Eli McLaughlin 1g, 6a
Ryan Lee 5g, 0a
Buffalo’s next game is at home in the KeyBank Center on January 31st against the Rochester Knighthawks. Game time is 7:30pm (EST).
Colorado’s next game is February 1st when they travel to Las Vegas to meet the San Diego Seals at the Orleans Arena. Game time is 10pm (EST).
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, Mr. Groob had 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).
Mr. Groob 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.