Outlook 2023-24 – Buffalo Bandits

2022-2023 Record: 14-4, 1st in the East Division.  2022-2023 NLL Champions.

New Faces:

Steven Orleman, Alex Kew

Key Losses:

Ethan O’Connor, Nathaniel Kozevnikov

The Bandits finally got the monkey off their backs winning the 2022-2023 NLL championship.  Buffalo dealt with many injuries to major stars all season, losing Chase Fraser, Ian MacKay, Josh Byrne, Tehoka Nanticoke, and Chris Cloutier for big chunks of the year.  A testament to the depth on the team, players like Brad McCulley, Justin Martin, and Dalton Sulver stepped up to fill voids.  

There were points in the season (due mostly to injury) where the Bandits were involved in a lot of close games.  The next man up mentality kept them in their winning ways.  Buffalo was involved in seven one goal games, winning six of them.  Four of those wins were in overtime.

Offense:

When healthy, this team is probably the most explosive in the league.  Josh Byrne and Dhane Smith both can score from anywhere, though Smith spends the majority of his time being the offensive quarterback.  With wave after wave of offense (Fraser, Cloutier, McCulley, Nanticoke, Buchanan, Sulver), Buffalo will again be an exciting, dangerous team to play night in, and night out.

Transition/Faceoff: 

Max Adler has proven himself as one of the better faceoff men in the league.  Adler went 233 for 460 (50.7%) on faceoffs in 2023.

The transition team was a real weapon for the Bandits.  Captain Steve Priolo led the way.  Nick Weiss, Dalton Sulver, and Ian Mackay were also big factors, and will be again this coming season.

Defense: 

Probably the most under-rated squad in the league.  This bruising group consisting of Bryce Sweeting, Matt Spanger, Steve Priolo, Adam Bomberry and Dylan Robinson were quick and efficient all year.

Most notably, this group held powerhouses like Rochester, Toronto and Colorado to less than nine goals per game in the playoffs.  In game three of the finals, Buffalo held the powerful Mammoth team to just four goals.  This set a record for the least amount of goals ever in an NLL playoff game.

Goaltending: 

What can be said about Matt Vinc that hasn’t already been said.  The best ever! 

Matt Vinc has won the Goaltender of the Year award an NLL record eight times in his career. Vinc currently leads all NLL goalies in career wins (147), saves (9,788) and minutes played (14,739). He also holds NLL goaltending playoff records in wins (30), saves (1,626) and minutes played (2,512).

Fighting for the backup spot are two very capable goalies.  Steven Orleman, newly aquired from the New York Riptide, as well as Devlin Shanahan, last year’s backup to Vinc.

In Conclusion:

It is unprecedented that all but two players are returning to the team this year to try and win another championship.  It speaks volumes about John Tavares (head coach), his coaches, and the entire organization in Buffalo. 

Banditland has long been lauded as the greatest fan base to play for.  The team continually gives credit to them for their energy and commitment to them.  With an average attendance of 14,731 during the 2022-2023 season, the KeyBank Center should be rocking throughout the 2023-2024 campaign as well.

Don’t forget to check us out every Sunday night at 9pm on eopsports.com

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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