Written by “Muffler” Mike Kostiuk
Lax Philly  – A Division of Edge of Philly Sports Network

The Albany FireWolves traveled to Key Bank Center in Buffalo on Friday to face the Buffalo Bandits in the first of two Week 12 games for Albany. In a rare oddity, each quarter of the game consisted of a shutout run by a single team, with every goal of Buffalo’s 13-8 victory being scored at the same end of the floor. With the win, Buffalo improves to 7-1, while Albany falls to 4-5 and is now in 5th place in the East Division.

Quiet Intro, Powder Keg Burns

The FireWolves scored the lone goal of the first quarter as Jacob Ruest (1g, 1a) beat Buffalo goalie Matt Vinc at the 1:35 mark. Albany had what looked to be a great chance to open up a bigger lead when Buffalo defenseman Nick Weiss was assessed a double minor near the end of the first quarter. However, the Bandits penalty kill, which ranks in the top third of the league, was able to navigate its way into the second quarter with no additional damage incurred. After getting back to even strength, Buffalo would go on a six goal run. Tehoka Nanticoke (3g; 4:52; 10:47), Connor Fields (2g, 1a; 5:45; 6:35), and Chris Cloutier (4g, 1a; 10:07; 13:21) would make it 6-1 at the half.

Sparks (and Fists) Fly in the Second Half

New half, new quarter, new run. This time it was Albany reeling off seven unanswered goals. Andrew Kew (2g, 2a) started the comeback just 42 seconds in. Ryan Benesch (2g, 3a) followed with a power play goal a minute later, then Joe Resetarits (2g, 3a) at 4:25.

Halfway through the quarter, tempers started to flare after separate scrums in front of each net. The first of these occurred in front of Albany goalie Doug Jamieson, who was penalized for a slash that sent forward Dhane Smith (2g, 4a) to the floor. Just before the 9:00 mark, FireWolves defender Nick Chaykowsky was checked into Vinc on a crease dive attempt, leaving Vinc motionless on the floor for several minutes as all players on the floor began pushing, shoving, and tussling.

After the dust had settled, Albany found themselves on another extended power play, and made the most of it. Power play markers from Resetarits (10:00), Mike Byrne (1g; 10:12), Benesch (11:03), and Kew (13:56) had the FireWolves entering the final frame with an 8-6 lead.

Photo courtesy of NLL Instagram

About That Net…

By this time, even the NLL’s TV broadcast team of Brendan Glasheen and Mitch Belisle were aware that all of the goals in the game had been scored at the same end of the floor. Fortunately for the Bandits, that particular net was occupied by Jamieson for the last 15 minutes, and the trend would not break.

Goals by Smith (2:11) and Chase Fraser (1g, 1a; 2:51) would tie the game, and Nanticoke’s third at 3:56 would put Buffalo ahead for good. Cloutier would add his third (7:35; power play) and fourth (11:07), Smith his second (11:30), and lastly Steve Priolo (1g, 1a; 11:38) off the ensuing faceoff to make it 13-8. But the game would not end without more fireworks as Bandits defender Bryce Sweeting, looking for payback on the earlier Albany crease dive, threw down with Chaykowsky with 5 seconds remaining in the game. These two teams will meet again in the Capital Region in Week 14.

3 Stars of the Game

  • 1st Star: Chris Cloutier
  • 2nd Star: Jackson Nishimura (5 Loose Balls, 2 Caused Turnovers)
  • 3rd Star: Tehoka Nanticoke

Other Stats of Note

  • Power Play: ALB 5 of 8; BUF 1 of 4
  • Joe Nardella (ALB): 17 of 25 on faceoffs
  • Tony Malcom (ALB): 13 Loose Balls (led all players)
  • Matt Vinc (BUF): 54 saves
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.