Bandits Ride A Five Goal Run To Victory

The San Diego Seals (1-1) came to Buffalo to play the Bandits (1-1) in NLL regular season action at the KeyBankCenter.  Buffalo raised their 2022-23 championship banner in an emotional pregame ceremony.

Photo courtesy of the Buffalo Bandits

Buffalo was looking to get in the win column after a 17-13 upset in Albany last week.  San Diego showed that they were ready for the season with a convincing 12-9 win over the Calgary Roughnecks. 

The goaltending match-up had Chris Origlieri in net for the Seals against Matt Vinc in net for the Bandits.

In a game that went back and forth all night, a five goal run by Buffalo in the third quarter, changed the complexion of the game.  14 points between Dhane Smith (0g,7a) and Josh Byrne (4g,3a) led the Bandits to the 12-9 victory.

To The Game:

San Diego got on the board first when Austin Staats took a Curtis Dickson pass in front of the net and made no mistake at 1:53.  Josh Byrne answered from the top of the crease off a Dhane Smith feed at 2:59, followed by Brandon Robinson barging to the net off a Nick Weiss pass in transition at 4:13. 

Curtis Dickson tied the game off a Wes Berg behind the back pass at 8:28, but a laser from Josh Byrne off a long pass from Dhane Smith at 10:39 gave the Bandits the lead once again.  Curtis Dickson then converted an Austin Staats feed, firing to the shortside of Matt Vinc on the power-play at 13:58.

After one quarter, Buffalo 3 San Diego 3.

Second Quarter:

Tehoka Nanticoke opened the second quarter scoring on the power-play off an underhand pass from Dhane Smith at 0:53 seconds, but a quick power-play goal from Wes Berg at 3:22 tied the game once again. 

Jake Govett fired a rope from just inside the restraining line off a Curtis Dickson pass at 5:44 to give the Seals their first lead since 1-0.  Wes Berg then added a shorthanded goal on a behind the back shot that caught Matt Vinc by surprise at 8:53. 

Chris Cloutier blasted a Dhane Smith feed past Origlieri late in the shot clock at 12:31 to cut the Seals lead to just one goal.

At the half, San Diego 6 Buffalo 5.

Third Quarter:

The Seals opened the second half scoring with Wes Berg’s third of the night off a behind the back pass from Curtis Dickson at 0:28 seconds. 

The Bandits answered immediately when Josh Byrne fired a blast low to high off a Nick Weiss pass at 1:15, followed by Kyle Buchanan diving from behind the net scoring on the power-play at 1:38.  Ian MacKay, on a great individual effort, ran out from the corner beating Origlieri 0:22 seconds later unassisted, followed by Matt Spanger in transition finishing an Ian MacKay feed at 3:20. 

Josh Byrne’s fourth goal of the night was a quick stick off a Dhane Smith pass on the power-play at 12:07, but Dane Dobbie fired a blast from the side of the net on the power-play off an Austin Staats behind the back pass at 14:23.

After three quarters, Buffalo 10 San Diego 8.

Photo Courtesy of the Buffalo Bandits

Fourth Quarter:

After half a quarter of opportunities for both teams, the Bandits finally score when Kyle Buchanan quick sticked a Josh Byrne feed on the power-play at 8:01.  The Seals thought they got it back when Kyle Jackson dove, scoring on Vinc.  On a coaches challenge, it was deemed his foot was in the crease prior to the ball crossing the goal line.

San Diego did get on the board when Austin Staats fired a howitzer at Matt Vinc.   Vinc made the save originally, but the momentum had the ball dribble over the line at 10:34, but the Bandits came back when Chase Fraser used a Swim move to get space and fire the ball in at 12:44.

Final score, Buffalo 12 San Diego 9.

“We’re a great team with a lot of talent but you still got to work hard,” Bandits coach John Tavares said. “I thought we played really well. We buried our opportunities in the second half. I thought Matt (Vinc) played well. The defense played well. It was like a totally different game in the second half.”

Head Coach John Tavares Courtrsy of the Buffalo Bandits

About Josh Byrne:

“He’s a phenomenal player and he’s moving up the ladder pretty quickly,” Tavares said. “I’m not surprised, he sees the floor well, he’s athletic, he’s got a great shot. He’s a triple threat, outside, inside and a feeder. He leads by example and he’s a great leader in the room.”

Head Coach John Tavares Courtesy of the Buffalo Bandits

The Three Stars:

1. Josh Byrne
2. Dhane Smith
3. Wes Berg

Game Stats:

  • The shots on goal were tied 46-46.
  • The faceoff battle was dominated by San Diego 22-3.
  • The loose ball battle went to San Diego 72- 54.
  • The Seals went 3 for 5 on the power-play, also scoring a shorthanded goal.
  • The Bandits went 4 for 6 on the power-play.

Top Scorers:

San Diego Seals:

  • Curtis Dickson 2g, 4a
  • Dane Dobbie 1g, 3a
  • Wes Berg 3g,1a
  • Austin Staats 2g, 2a

Buffalo Bandits:

  • Josh Byrne 4g, 3a
  • Dhane Smith 0g, 7a
  • Nick Weiss 0g, 3a

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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.