Bandits Take Game One Of The NLL Championship 

The Buffalo Bandits had a huge second half as they took a 12-8 win over the Albany FireWolves in Game One of the NLL Championship.

It was really a tale of two games. Albany held a 6-5 lead at the half, but the Bandits shut the door in the second half, outscoring the FireWolves 7-2.

Albany’s power play woes continued as they went zero for one with the man advantage. Meanwhile, the Bandits took advantage of discipline issues for the FireWolves by going two for four on the power play.

It was a goaltending duel as expected. Matt Vinc stopped 37 of 45 shots in the Buffalo goal. Doug Jamieson was peppered with 56 shots and stopped 44 in the loss.

Teams Go Toe-To-Toe In The First Quarter

Tye Kurtz got Albany on the board first 35 seconds into the game on the first possession. The play was challenged, but the call on the floor of a good goal stood.

Tehoka Nanticoke tied up the game at 2:44 and Josh Byrne followed that up at 5:26 to give the Bandits a 2-1 lead.

Albany wouldn’t allow Buffalo to get on much of a roll. Ethan Walker found the back of the net at 7:13 to tie up the game. The FireWolves then took the lead at 10:09 when Kurtz scored his second of the game.

The FireWolves ran into penalty troubles. Byrne scored on the man-advantage with 2:13 left in the quarter. Dhane Smith added to the tally on the power play with 1:49 left to put the Bandits up 4-3.

The FireWolves were able to tie it up with 21 seconds left on the clock. Walker scored to make it 4-4 after one.

FireWolves Grab Momentum

Chris Cloutier opened the second-quarter scoring at 2:43, but it was all Albany after that.

Travis Longboat tied up the game 5-5 at 8:44. Alex Simmons found the back of the net with 26 seconds left to give Albany a 6-5 lead at the half.

Bandits Score In Bunches … Again

The Buffalo Bandits took over in the second half and played to their strength, scoring in bunches

Cloutier tied up the game at 4:33 and Chase Fraser would give the Bandits a lead with 3:03 left on the clock to make the score 7-6.

Buffalo Takes Over In The Fourth

The Bandits continued to pour it on in the fourth quarter. Ian MacKay scored 37 seconds into the frame to put Buffalo up by two 8-6.

The FireWolves finally stopped the bleeding at 1:10 with a goal from Simmons.

Buffalo then put the game away with a run of four goals. Kyle Buchanan started it off at 7:04 followed by Byrne at 10:44. Dhane Smith made it 11-7 with 2:34 left on the clock. Dylan Robinson rounded out the run 14 seconds later unassisted.

Albany kept pushing as Sam Firth scored with 1:02 left, but it wasn’t enough as the Bandits took Game 1 of the NLL Championship 12-8.

Top Scorers

Buffalo Bandits

Dhane Smith, 2g 11a

Josh Byrne, 3g 4a

Chris Coultier, 2g 4a

Albany FireWolves

Ethan Walker, 2g 5a

Alex Simmons, 2g 4a

Tye Kurtz, 2g 2a

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Shawn Slaght
Shawn Slaght

Shawn Slaght has been a sports reporter across the Canadian prairies for over 10 years and has experience covering everything from junior hockey to World Cup skiing to all levels of lacrosse. He is the Saskatchewan correspondent for All Lacrosse All The Time.