Kevin M. Neibauer
LaxPhilly -A Division of the Edge of Philly
If the playoff pictures in the National Lacrosse League weren’t convaluted enough. The Colorado Mammoth (8-6) pulled off a late minute defeat at the Ball Arena with the 15-14 besting of the Buffalo Bandits (13-2l.
In a game with playoff intensity, neither squad could seize momentum.
Let’s Get to It, Shall We?
Despite the relatively high score,the first stanza only yielded a pair of lamp lighters.
Continuing his bid for the National Lacrosse League MVP, Dhane Smith (3g,9 assists) no…this wasn’t an All Star Game or skills competition.
Back to Smith…the Great Dhane lit the lamp at 6:18 off helpers from Kyle Buchanan and Josh Byrne.
Byrne and Smith teamed up on a power play marker from former UNC stand out, Chris Cloutier (1g) to widen the gap and end the quarter with Buffalo on top, 2-0.
We Move On
With two of the most explosive offenses in the NLL, you had to know fireworks would ensue.
Colorado quickly evened the score with Zed Williams (3g,2a) starting his break out game followed with Star of the Game, Connor Robinson (4g) nailing his first on the man up at 4:21.
A comeback player of the year candidate, Kyle Buchanan (1g,4a) hit net just twenty six seconds later
Back to MVP Candidates. Eli McLaughlin (1g,3a) got it back to a tied score at 3-3.
The ebb and flow kept coming when Chase Fraser (4g,1a) did the work to hit net net off assists from Smith and Ian MacKay (1a).
The Mammoth shrugged that off with Williams and “Lightning” Joey Cupido besting Bandits netminder, Matt Vinc.
Buchanan and Smith went to work on a Buffalo advantage with Connor Fields (1g,3a) cashing in to…you guessed it, tie it up 5-5.
Colorado unleashed a not so Mammoth retort started with Ryan Lee (1g,7a) settling a Zed Williams, Eli McLaughlin pass around.
McLaughlin and Tyson Gibson were in a giving mood for Robinson to end the hectic half with Colorado holding a 7-5 advantage.
On to the Third
Head Coach, John Tavares and the Buffalo offense unveiled “Bandit Ball”.
A three goal Buffalo run supplied by, Byrne and Fields setting up Smith, Byrne depositing a Smith pass and Smith and Marcus Minichello (1a) repaying the favor for Fraser to get it a 8-7 Bandit lead.
The lead would last less than a minute until Robinson potted a transition marker started by netminder Dillon Ward (3a)
Alex Woodall (2g) won the ensuing face off clean and took it the house just six ticks later.
Smith and Byrne each lit the lamp on the advantage before Woodall struck again at 13:23 to set up the final quarter with, you guessed it, a tied game, 10-10.
Who Wants It?
The heavyweights went to the final 15:00.
Chris Wardle (1g) put the Mammoth ahead, 11-10 at the 2:14 mark.
Showing zero care, Smith and Buchanan set up Byrne just a minute fourteen later for the eighth even score of the night.
Gibson at 3:52 and Fraser at 4:25 made it the 9th tie.
In turn it was Tehoka Nanticoke (1g) and Williams exchanging markers for tie number 10.
Gibson and Fraser said, “anything you can do, I can do better” made eleven.
Just when overtime looked, Robinson hit net with exactly one minute to play and the West Division would need a playoff reshuffle.
We Go On
• Shots went the way of the Bandits, 62-49.
• Dillon Ward was Dlllon.Ward like with 48 stops an a trio of assists.
• The ageless Matt Vinc stopped 34 Mammoth tries.
• Just when cynics decry the face off guy in box Alex Woodall stymies them. 21 of 34 with a pair of tallies.
• Loose balls heavily favored Buffalo, 80-49.
• Zed Williams scooped 13 loosirs with Ryan Lee and Robinson each snagging 9 for the Mammoth.
• Max Adler and Steve Priolo led the Bandits with 8 each.
Colorado With Mammoth Upset.
Kevin has followed and promoted the game of lacrosse since May 19, 1974.
The same day the Philadelphia Flyers won the Cup, the Philadelphia Wings were introduced to Neibauer and Philadelphia.
Kevin has covered many sports, including baseball, football, basketball, and.. lacrosse. A former licensed football referee and baseball umpire, Kevin brings a unique insight to his game coverage.
A published writer in JustHockey Magazine, Kevin covered the American Hockey League as well as a monthly story on a pugilist where Kevin used the pen name, The Rink Rat. Neibauer turned his attentions to lacrosse for a few years and does his part, whether podcasting or writing to grow the game. Kevin branched out to his roots and currently provides insight for all Philadelphia teams for Edge of Philly as well as his full-time duties with LaxPhilly.