The Bandits Pour It On In The Fourth To Advance To The Finals

The Toronto Rock (1-2) went to KeyBank Center Sunday evening to face the Buffalo Bandits (3-0) with their backs against the wall. The Rock trailed the Bandits 1-0 in their best- of-three NLL Semifinals matchup after a lopsided 12-4 loss Friday evening in Hamilton, Ontario.

The game one story revolved around both the Rock’s lack of offence, held without a goal for the first 39 minutes of the game, and the stingy play of Buffalo goalie Matt Vinc and the Buffalo defense.

The goaltending match-up once again had Nick Rose in net for Toronto facing Matt Vinc in net for the Bandits.

The Rock’s power-play finally came to life in the first half going 3 for 5.  The other difference from Friday night was the consistent inside shooting.  The Bandits defense were pulled out of their box and clog, opening up more opportunities for Toronto.

The second half was a defensive gem in the third quarter, with both teams stifling their opponents, but that would change in the fourth.  The Bandits got on a six goal run, and rolled the Rock 10-8.

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To The Game:

The Bandits opened the scoring when Dhane Smith fired a laser off a Tehoka Nanticoke feed at 3:19, but Toronto answered back with a howitzer from Chris Boushy off a spin move converting a Challen Rogers pass at 7:48. 

Dan Craig gave the Rock the lead with a dunk from behind the net off a Mark Matthews pass at 8:17, but Tehoka Nanticoke converted a Josh Byrne pass to tie the game at 10:43.

On a two man advantage Kyle Buchanan gave Buffalo the lead once again converting a Dhane Smith feed at 12:48.

After one quarter, Buffalo 3 Toronto 2.

Second Quarter:

The Rock tied the game on the power-play with Corey Small blasting a Mark Matthews behind the back flip pass at 1:20. On a five minute major to Bandits Ian MacKay, Mark Matthews scored on the power-play from in close off a Challen Rogers pass at 11:04, followed by Tom Schreiber with another power-play goal at 12:39.  Corey Small’s second of the game from in close off a Tom Schreiber pass at 13:04 made it a three goal lead for Toronto.

At the half, Toronto 6 Buffalo 3.

Third Quarter:

Dhane Smith opened the second half scoring with a high to high blast off a Tehoka Nanticoke flip pass at 3:21, but Chris Weier converted a Josh Jubenville pass in transition with a twister from in close at 10:50.

After three quarters, Toronto 7 Buffalo 4.

Fourth Quarter:

Mark Matthews opened the fourth quarter scoring sneaking a high to low shot to the shortside of Matt Vinc off a Justin Martin pass at 1:32, but Chase Fraser answered immediately with a goal to the shortside of his own at 2:05. 

Tehoka Nanticoke added one of his own on a spin move off a Josh Byrne feed at 3:01, followed by Byrne himself scoring from in close with a high to low shot at 3:54.  On a delayed penalty Chase Fraser scored on Nick Rose with the extra attacker on the floor off a Josh Byrne feed at 6:40 to tie the game. 

Chase Fraser scored his third of the night on a great individual effort at 9:21 to give the Bandits the lead, then Josh Byrne dove across the crease at 10:15. 

Final score, Buffalo 10 Toronto 8.

Buffalo advances to the finals against the Albany FireWolves.

The Three Stars:

1. Dhane Smith
2. Josh Byrne
3. Mark Matthews

Game Stats:

  • Shots on goal were 60-45 in favor of Toronto.
  • The faceoff battle went to the Rock 16-7.
  • The loose battle went to Toronto 69-50.
  • The Rock went 3 for 6 on the power-play, while Buffalo went 1 for 2.

Top Scorers:

Toronto Rock:

  • Mark Matthews 2g, 3a
  • Tom Schreiber 1g, 4a
  • Corey Small 2g, 1a

Buffalo Bandits:

  • Josh Byrne 2g, 5a
  • Dhane Smith 2g, 4a
  • Tehoka Nanticoke 2g, 2a

Don’t forget to check us out every Sunday night at 9pm (ET) on www.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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