Lacrosse Editorial – Can Anyone Beat The Bandits?

With three convincing blowouts this post season, the Buffalo Bandits have made a statement to the league… This is OUR year!

The Playoff Version:

Up until a few weeks ago, Buffalo hadn’t been able to field a full, healthy team this season.  Out were Josh Byrne, Chris Cloutier, Tehoka Nanticoke, Chase Fraser, and Ian MacKay throughout most of the season, yet they still found a way to finish first in the league standings. 

The injury reserve itself could’ve been mistaken for an All-Star team.  Now healthy, and with a few games under their belt getting in sync, this Bandits team is all business and heading to the finals for the third consecutive season.

The Offense:

Buffalo is led by last year’s league MVP Dhane Smith (36g,96a), with a support cast of Josh Byrne (43g,50a), Kyle Buchanan (21g,37a), Tehoka Nanticoke (21g,18a), and Chris Cloutier (17g,19a).  They are explosive both in offense and in transition with Ian MacKay and Steve Priolo able to go coast to coast on any loose ball.  This adds another dimension to the offense.  Let’s not overlook Chase Fraser and Brad McCulley, both adding great technical ability, as well as muscle (when needed) to round out a very potent Bandits offensive lineup.

Defense:

This group is one of the most underrated groups in the league.  With Steve “Chugger” Deitrich as the defensive co-ordinator this bunch has been dominant with schemes and athleticism.  Justin Robinson, Justin Martin, Nick Weiss, Max Adler, Adam Bomberry, Bryce Sweeting, Matt Spanger and Ethan O’Connor are a bruising group that can shut down the best of offenses at any time.

Goaltending:

What more can be said about Matt Vinc that hasn’t already been said.  An eight time goalie of the year, and three time NLL champion, Vinc is soon to be first ballot Hall of Famer.  His leadership on and off the floor is invaluable to the business of winning a championship.

Making A Statement:

In three games this post season, the Bandits have outscored their opponents 51- 21, going 3-0 to this point.  They have been dominant on both sides of the ball, but more importantly been able to keep their composure through everything in this playoff run. 

If Buffalo can keep healthy and focused, it will be very difficult for either Calgary or Colorado to upset the regular season champions.   With John Tavares at the helm as head coach, this team should be able to break the curse that has haunted them since their last championship in 2008.

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.

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