Rock Hold On, Giving Bandits Their First “L” Of The Season

Gary Groob
Lax Philly  – A Division of Edge of Philly Sports Network

The Toronto Rock (5-3) took on the NLL’s best team, the Buffalo Bandits (6-1) in the second of three meetings this season on Saturday night at FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, ON. The Rock came up short in a 12-6 loss to the Bandits back on January 8 in Buffalo, NY.  The Buffalo Bandits have been firing on all cylinders this year with big production from Josh Byrne, Dhane Smith, and Chase Fraser.  The Rock needed to come up with another defensive gem like they did last week against tha Philadelphia Wings if they hoped to stop the Buffalo juggernaut.  Rob Hellyer, Tom Schreiber, Dan Dawson, as well as Dan Craig have all been enjoying good seasons, and the Rock would need all of their production to come away with the “W”.

The goaltending match-up had Matt Vinc in net for the Bandits vs. Nick Rose guarding the cage for the Rock.

In classic fashion, this Bandits/Rock game did not disappoint.   Strong defense, great goaltending, and acrobatic offense had everyone on edge all night.  Toronto got out to an early lead, and while Buffalo battled hard, it was the Rock that gave the Bandits their first “L” of the season 12-10.

To the game…

The first quarter opened with Reid Reinholdt (2g,3a) scoring for the Rock from the outside, off a Challon Rogers pass at 2:36.  Buffalo answered back when Josh Byrne (1g,1a) showed his athletic ability taking flight, jumping from the top of the crease, kissing the ball off the far post and in at 6:57.  Toronto regained the lead when Challon Rogers (1g,1a) beat Matt Vinc finishing off a Rob Hellyer pass at 7:51.

Tom Schreiber (4g,2a) and the Rock power play were responsible for the next two scores in the quarter.  Schreiber fired lasers high to low on both goals from the outside beating Matt Vinc.  Schreiber’s first goal was at 8:48, then again at 13:41.

After one quarter, Toronto 4 Buffalo 1.

Second Quarter:

Buffalo opened the second quarter scoring in transition.  Matt Spanger (1g,1a) went coast to coast scoring on Nick Rose at 4:39 to cut the lead in half.   Connor Fields (3g,0a) brought the Bandits within one goal diving from the edge of the crease, beating Rose far side off a Dhane Smith pass at 6:37, and then tied the game on a quick stick at 10:03 off a Kyle Buchanan pass.

Toronto stopped the Bandits mini run with Reid Reinholdt firing a shot to the far side of Vinc off a Rob Hellyer pass at 10:22, followed by Tom Schreiber scoring his third of the night at 11:28.  Schreiber then scored his fourth of the night diving to the crease converting a Dan Dawson pass just 0:21 seconds later to restore the Rock’s three goal lead.  Nick Rose fed Brandon Slade (1g,0a) with a long lead pass near the end of the quarter. Slade went coast to coast scoring at 14:26.

At the half, Toronto 8 Buffalo 4.

Shots on goal favored Toronto 28-26

Third Quarter:

Things heated up immediately as the quarter started.  Brad McCully challenged Bill Hostrawser to a sparring session.  McCully did well, but Hostrawser came away with the decision.

Kyle Buchanan (2g,2a) opened the scoring for the Bandits with a quick stick off a Dhane Smith pass at 1:32, then Connor Fields scored his third of the game firing a howitzer on the power play at 8:52 again off a Dhane Smith feed. 

After three quarters, Toronto 8 Buffalo 6.

Fourth Quarter:

Chase Fraser thought he opened the scoring with an absolutely incredible individual effort.  Fighting his way to the crease, shooting with one hand, he hit the crossbar with the ball bouncing down just inside the net.  Toronto challenged the play, and after a lengthy review it was deemed that his foot was in the crease prior to the goal going in – No Goal.

Tehoka Nanticoke (1g,0a) opened the Buffalo scoring in the fourth off a Kyle Buchanan pass at 3:59 bringing the Bandits within one, but Rob Hellyer (2g,4a) gave the Rock a two goal lead again firing a howitzer off a Dan Craig pass at 4:58.  Dhane Smith (2g,3a) scored his first of the night in transition off a Matt Spanger pass 0:31 seconds later and the Rock only led by one goal again. 

Mitch de Snoo took a holding penalty, and on the ensuing power play Kyle Buchanan banked a shot off Nick Rose to tie the game up at 7:57.

Former Bandit Mitch de Snoo (1g,0a) took a long lead pass from Nick Rose and scored in transition at 9:53 giving the Rock the lead again in this see-saw battle.  Dan Craig (1g,2a) increased the lead firing a laser at 12:04 from the outside.  

Rob Hellyer scored on a beautiful shot to the far side of the net at 13:17, but the Bandits stormed right back with a Dhane Smith goal  0:14 seconds later. 

The pace was frantic, but the Rock held on for the win.

Final score,  Toronto 12 Buffalo 10

The Three Stars:

  • 1. Mitch de Snoo
  • 2. Nick Rose
  • 3. Tom Schreiber

Shots on goal slightly favored the Rock 48-47

TD Ierlan was almost perfect on faceoffs for Toronto going 25 – 1.

Buffalo went 2 for 4 on the power play, while the Rock went 2 for 5.

Milestones:

  • Rob Hellyer – passed Stephan Leblanc to become fifth on the all time assists leaders in Toronto Rock history.
  • Tom Schreiber – 300 career points
  • Brad Kri – 100 career games
  • Nick Weiss – 100 career games

Top Scorers:

Buffalo:

  • Dhane Smith 2g, 3a
  • Kyle Buchanan 2g, 2a
  • Connor Fields 3g, 0a
  • Chris Cloutier 0g, 3a

Toronto:

  • Tom Schreiber 4g, 2a
  • Rob Hellyer 2g, 4a
  • Reid Reinholdt 2g, 3a

Buffalo’s next game is at home against the Albany FireWolves on Friday February 18th.  Game Time is 7:30pm

Toronto’s next game is also against the Albany FireWolves on Saturday, February 19th in Albany.  Game Time is 7pm.

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 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.

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