The Buffalo Bandits (11-4) headed north of the border to take on the Toronto Rock (12-4) at FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, Ontario in front of 13, 127 fans.
Heading into this game Dhane Smith led the league with 75 assists and was second with 103 points. Tom Schreiber paced the Rock with 95 points and also led his team in both goals (38) and assists (57). Corey Small (32) and Dan Craig (31) have also produced 30-goal seasons for Toronto.
Matt Vinc was in net for the Bandits facing Nick Rose in net for the Rock.
The game was over early. The Rock stormed out of the gate and built a 3-0 lead just over two and a half minutes into the first quarter. The first ended with the Rock up 7-1, and 11-5 at the half.
To open the second half, Buffalo scored on an early power play but the Rock would continue to shut down and frustrate the Bandits. Led by Corey Small (5g,5a), Tom Schreiber (4g,5a) and Dan Craig (3g,4a) the Rock dominated this game from start to finish en route to a lopsided 18-7 victory. Nick Rose was outstanding in the Toronto net making 42 saves on the night.
To The Game:
The Rock opened the scoring early with Corey Small picking the far corner off a Stephen Keogh feed at 0:56 seconds. Toronto then increased the lead with two shorthanded goals. Latrell Harris converted a long lead pass from Brad Kri in transition at 2:10, followed by Challen Rogers with a howitzer off a Dan Craig pass just 0:28 seconds later. Craig himself increased the lead with another laser from the outside off a Corey Small pass at 8:04, followed by Corey Small finishing off a Tom Schreiber feed at 11:45. The Rock continued the barrage with Dan Craig’s second of the game converting a Tom Schreiber pass 0:25 seconds later.
Matt Vinc was replaced in the Bandits goal by Devlin Shanahan.
Josh Jubenville welcomed Shanahan to the game diving across the crease off a Latrell Harris pass at 13:19 for the Rock’s seventh consecutive goal.
The Bandits finally got on the board when Chris Cloutier converted a Dhane Smith pass at 14:47.
After one quarter, Toronto 7 Buffalo 1.
Josh Byrne gave the Bandits life with two goals to start the second quarter. The first goal was on the power-play blasting a shot to the shortside of Nick Rose at 4:11, followed by a similar goal scored off a Dhane Smith feed at 5:32.
Brandon Slade scored off a bounce shot converting a Corey Small rebound at 7:27, but Kyle Buchanan with a spin move cut the lead to four goals at 8:24. Corey Small scored his third of the night off a Stephen Keogh feed 0:25 seconds later, followed by Tom Schreiber converting a Dan Craig feed at 9:45.
Matt Vinc returned to the Bandits goal.
Dhane Smith scored unassisted on the power-play for Buffalo, but was answered by Corey Small’s fourth of the night on the power-play at 13:44.
At the half, Toronto 11 Buffalo 5.
Chris Cloutier opened the third quarter scoring converting a Dhane Smith pass on the power-play at 1:09, but Josh Jubenville answered back immediately going in all alone on Matt Vinc just 0:15 seconds later. Challen Rogers increased the Rock lead in transition converting a Bill Hostrawser pass at 2:38, followed by Corey Small’s fifth goal of the game in transition off a Latrell Harris feed at 0:20 seconds later. Tom Schreiber increased the Rock lead to nine goals when he finished a Corey Small pass at 7:00.
Dalton Sulver converted a Steve Priolo pass in transition at 11:27, but with just 0:00.9 seconds left in the quarter Dan Craig scored on the power-play.
After three quarters, Toronto 16, Buffalo 7.
Devlin Shanahan came back in the Bandits net for the fourth quarter.
The Rock defense continued to bottle up the Bandits offense in this quarter, shutting them down entirely. Only two goals were scored, both by Tom Schreiber of Toronto. Schreiber’s first was a bounce shot off a cross floor pass from Corey Small at 8:29, followed by a breakaway in transition off a Josh Jubenville feed at 9:24.
Troy Holowchuk took over the Toronto goaltending for the last 4:51.
Toronto was awarded a penalty shot when Buffalo was called for illegal substitution with under two minutes to go. Challen Rogers took the shot, but Devlin Shanahan wouldn’t bite on any of the fakes making the save.
Tempers boiled over with four separate bouts in the last minute. Bryce Sweeting and Bill Hostrawser, which was brewing all evening headlined the card. Josh Jubenville vs. Carter McKenzie, and Adam Bomberry vs. Greg Downing was next, finishing off with Stephen Keogh vs. Brad McCulley.
Video Courtesy of Toronto Rock Instagram, and NLL on TSN
Final score, Toronto 18 Buffalo 7.
The Three Stars:
- Corey Small
- Nick Rose
- Josh Jubenville
- Shots on goal favored Toronto 52-49.
- The faceoff battle was won by Buffalo 15-14.
- Toronto edged Buffalo in loose balls 67-65.
- The Bandits went 3 for 7 on the power-play.
- The Rock went 2 for 5 on the power-play but also scored 2 shorthanded goals.
- Dhane Smith 1g, 4a
- Josh Byrne 2g, 2a
- Chris Cloutier 2g, 0a
- Corey Small 5g, 5a
- Tom Schreiber 4g, 5a
- Dan Craig 3g, 4a
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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.