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The Toronto Rock (13-5) took on the Buffalo Bandits (14-4) at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, NY in front of 13, 481 fans. The Rock and Bandits, both coming off bye week’s were playing the rubber match of their three game season series which was tied at 1-1. Buffalo got back in the win column in their last game after two losses, while Toronto has been the hottest team in the league, going 10-2 in their last 12 games.
Prior to game time, the Rock had moved Reid Reinholdt to the Injured Reserve List with an upper body injury. Justin Scott has been placed on the Active Roster from the Practice Roster. Also, the Rock continued to be without star forward Rob Hellyer, out since suffering an upper body injury against Georgia on April 1.
The goaltending match-up is a battle of two warriors. Nick Rose in net for the Rock against Matt Vinc for the Bandits.
Buffalo looked to have the game well at hand heading into the second half, but some adjustments by the Rock helped them with a seven goal fourth quarter, on way to a 10-7 victory.
To the game…
The game started with a torrid pace, with end to end action.
Dan Dawson (2g,1a) opened the scoring for the Toronto Rock firing a shot to the top corner beating Matt Vinc at 3:38, but Kyle Buchanan (3g,0a) with a behind the back shot converted a pass from Tehoka Nanticoke to tie the game just 0:30 seconds later. Toronto challenged the call, but it was deemed a good goal.
At 4:51 the Bandits took two penalties on the same play, giving the Rock a two man advantage. Buffalo’s penalty killing was monstrous, yielding a number of shorthanded opportunities, and killing both penalties.
Josh Byrne (2g,1a), with a great individual effort jumping high and staying airborne for a second, put it over Nick Rose’s shoulder for the Bandits goal off a Steve Priolo pass at 10:44.
Buffalo had a two man advantage near the end of the quarter, but stifling defense, and great goaltending yielded no goals for the Bandits.
After one quarter, Buffalo 2 Toronto 1.
Tehoka Nanticoke (1g,0a), using his own man as a screen, opened the scoring in the second quarter off a Chase Fraser pass at 2:09, followed by Josh Byrne scoring his second of the night shooting low to the far corner converting a Chase Fraser pass at 3:49. Kyle Buchanan increased the lead to 5-1 when he shot just inside the goal post off a Josh Byrne pass at 6:44.
At the half, Buffalo 5 Toronto 1.
- Shots on goal were dominated by the Bandits 30-16.
- The faceoff battle went to Max Adler of the Bandits 5-3.
The third quarter opened up with Toronto getting more opportunities, but Buffalo’s defense was up to the task. Any shots that did make it through, Matt Vinc was all over them.
On a two man advantage, the Rock finally got on the board again when Dan Craig (1g,3a) fired a laser to the top corner at 7:05, but that was it. The Bandits penalty kill was spectacular once again.
Dan Dawson scored his second of the night with a bounce shot off a Bill Hostrawser pass at 13:46, but the Bandits stormed back when Kyle Buchanan scored his third of the night unassisted just 0:10 seconds later.
After three quarters, Buffalo 6 Toronto 3.
Challen Rogers (3g,1a) scored quickly on the power play converting a Tom Schreiber pass at 1:23, but the Bandits again came back quickly. Chris Cloutier (1g,0a) fired a long shot from the restraining line that beat Nick Rose just 0:31 seconds later, and the three goal lead was restored.
Brandon Slade had a quick break in transition passing it off to Tom Schreiber (2g,1a) who made no mistake beating Matt Vinc at 7:16, followed by Challen Rogers scoring his second of the night firing a howitzer to the far side off a Dan Craig pass at 9:40. Rogers then scored his third of the night just 0:24 seconds later, faking Matt Vinc, then scoring into a wide open net.
Toronto took the lead when Tom Schreiber put a squeaker past Matt Vinc off a Zach Manns pass at 10:40, followed by Sheldon Burns (1g,0a) in transition scoring off a Jordan McKenna pass at 11:12, giving the Rock a two goal lead. Mitch de Snoo (1g,0a) scored into an empty net to complete the comeback.
Final score, Toronto 10 Buffalo 7.
- Shots on goal favored the Bandits 49-42.
- The faceoff battle was won just barely by TD Ierlan of the Rock 11-10
- Toronto won the loose Ball battle 83-75
- Toronto went 2 for 7 on the power play, while the Bandits went 0 for 2.
The Three Stars:
- First Star…………Kyle Buchanan
- Second Star…….Nick Rose
- Third Star………..Challen Rogers
- Challen Rogers 3g, 1a
- Dan Craig 1g, 3a
- Tom Schreiber 2g, 1a
- Dan Dawson 2g, 1a
- Kyle Buchanan 3g, 0a
- Josh Byrne 2g, 1a
- Steve Priolo 0g, 2a
- Chase Fraser 0g, 2a
Buffalo will face the Albany FireWolves in the first round of the NLL playoffs Saturday, May 7th.
Toronto will face the Halifax Thunderbirds on Friday, May 6th in their first round match-up.
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 10 years ago. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob had 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).
Mr. Groob 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.