Buffalo Roughs Up Calgary, Clinches Playoff Berth

The Buffalo Bandits hosted the Calgary Roughnecks at Key Bank Center Saturday night for a critical Week 20 matchup. Buffalo was looking to extend their win streak to three games and clinch one of the remaining four playoff spots in the process. Calgary was coming off a split weekend with Saskatchewan, needing to win out to maximize their chances of making the postseason. Unfortunately for the Roughnecks, they were held scoreless for the first 23 minutes of the game, and Buffalo never looked back in a 14-7 victory.

The win clinched a playoff berth for the Bandits (10-7), and gave them an outside chance at hosting a first-round playoff game. The victory was also good news for the Halifax Thunderbirds, who also clinched a playoff berth despite being idle this week. Calgary drops to 7-10 with the loss, and fall to 11th place in the Unified Standings. The Roughnecks are now a game behind Vancouver, Saskatchewan, and New York, who are all tied for the 8th and final playoff spot. They host Panther City in Week 21, now needing a win and significant help to make the postseason.

Dolans Wiffleball 2024
Dolans Wiffleball 2024

Buffalo explodes in first quarter

The Bandits heated up from the opening faceoff, outscoring Calgary 4-0 in the first frame thanks to goals from Chase Fraser, Tehoka Nanticoke, Kyle Buchanan, and Josh Byrne. Buchanan added his second goal to open the second quarter before a power play goal from Tyler Pace finally got the Roughnecks on the board. A second goal from Fraser on a power play and a marker form Chris Cloutier put Buffalo up 7-1. Tanner Cook cut the deficit to five, but Steve Priolo and Byrne added goals to give the Bandits a 9-2 lead going into halftime.

Buffalo cruises in second half to clinch playoff berth

Cloutier’s second and Fraser’s third goal extended Buffalo’s lead to 11-2 to start the third quarter. Calgary put together a three-goal run in response. Markers from Haiden Dickson, Dan Taylor, and Pace cut the lead to 11-5 going into the fourth quarter. The teams alternated goals in the fourth. Jesse King and Josh Currier scored for Calgary, while the Bandits got Cloutier’s third, a goal from Dhane Smith, and Fraser’s fourth of the night to close out the game.

The Bandits finish their regular season travelling to Las Vegas to face the Desert Dogs. A win, coupled with a loss by either Georgia or Albany (both also 10-7), would catapult Buffalo into the top four, giving them a home game in the first round of the playoffs. However, a loss to Vegas, coupled with wins by Halifax and Panther City in Week 21, could push the Bandits’ playoff seeding as low as #7, based on head-to-head tiebreaker victories that Albany, Georgia, Halifax, and PC hold over Buffalo.

Meanwhile, the Roughnecks have a much more difficult road. They must beat Panther City in Week 21, and hope Vancouver, Saskatchewan, and New York all lose, just to get into a four-way tie for the final playoff spot with an 8-10 record. Even then, it may not be enough, based on head-to-head results during the course of the season.

Other Stats of Note

Roughnecks: Pace (2g, 2a); King (1g, 3a); Josh Currier (1g, 2a); Dickson (1g, 1a); Taylor (1g, 1a); Cook (1g); Zach Currier (2a)

Bandits: Fraser (4g); Cloutier (3g, 1a); Byrne (2g, 5a); Buchanan (2g, 2a); Smith (1g, 6a); Nanticoke (1g, 2a); Priolo (1g)

Faceoffs: Calgary 8 of 25; Buffalo 17 of 25

Matt Vinc (BUF): 43 saves

“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk

“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk was formally introduced to box lacrosse when he attended a New England Black Wolves game on a whim in 2016. Instantly hooked, he has since become an avid follower of the National Lacrosse League. Following the postponement of the 2019-2020 NLL season, he was offered the chance to share his wealth of statistical knowledge and unique insights with the lacrosse community at large. He cheerfully accepted, and covers NLL, PLL, WLA, and Major Series Lacrosse for the network.