Vinc Sensational As Bandits Beat Rock

The Buffalo Bandits (2-0) visited the Toronto Rock (1-1) at FirstOntario Centre in game one of the NLL semi-finals.  The Bandits and Rock are meeting in the semifinal round of the NLL Playoffs for the third consecutive year, with the Bandits sweeping each of the previous two series in two straight games.

“You can change the standings all you want, but the rivalry continues between us and Toronto.  Two great teams going head-to-head and it’s gonna be a battle and I’m sure it’s gonna get even crazier, too. It should be fun.”   

Josh Byrne – Buffalo Bandits Forward

Mark Matthews leads the Rock with 98 points and 66 assists. Corey Small has a team-high 38 goals.  Tom Schreiber missed five games early in the year due to injury but still finished second on the team with 76 points.

For the Bandits, Josh Byrne (53g,82a) and Dhane Smith (33g,101a) led the way.  Chris Cloutier (30g,38a), Chase Fraser (31g,26a), Kyle Buchanan (23g,24a) and Tehoka Nanticoke (27g,16a) also were integral in Buffalo’s success.

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

A combination of bad shot selections, great Bandits defense, and playoff Matt Vinc had the Rock down 5-0 at the half.  The Buffalo transition game gave Toronto fits in the first half scoring four times.

While the second half had the Rock score a few goals, Buffalo continued their dominance in this game.   Tempers boiled over in the fourth with Bill Hostrawser squaring off with Nick Weiss.

Matt Vinc was exceptional in this game making 53 saves in the 12-4 victory.

To The Game:

After almost half a quarter of heart stopping end to end action, Ian MacKay opened the scoring in transition unassisted at 7:14 with a blast from in close, followed by Chase Fraser converting a Dylan Robinson pass in transition at 9:14.  Josh Byrne added another talley jumping across the crease off an Ian MacKay feed at 13:44.  It was challenged by the Rock but was deemed inconclusive  and the goal stood.

After one quarter, Buffalo 3 Toronto 0.

Second Quarter:

Toronto thought they had their first goal of the game, but were called for a crease violation.  On the restart, a long lead pass from Nick Weiss to Chris Cloutier left him all alone to score on Nick Rose at 4:37.  Kyle Buchanan added to the Buffalo lead converting a Josh Byrne pass at 6:49.

At the half, Buffalo 5 Toronto 0.

Third Quarter:

Buffalo opened the second half scoring with Dhane Smith firing a low to low shot off a Josh Byrne pass at 5:01. 

The Rock finally got on the board shorthanded when Justin Martin converted a Chris Corbeil pass at 9:04, but the Bandits answered immediately on the same power-play when Brandon Robinson finished a Dhane Smith feed 0:27 seconds later. 

The Bandits added another goal just before the end of the quarter with Brandon Robinson finishing a fantastic play from Tehoka Nanticoke who passed the ball while on his back with just 0:12 seconds left to play.

After three quarters, Buffalo 8 Toronto 1.

Fourth Quarter:

Toronto opened the fourth quarter scoring with Tom Schreiber scoring in transition off a Justin Martin pass at 2:09. 

Troy Holowchuk took over for Nick Rose at the halfway point of the quarter and was promptly scored on by Kyle Buchanan at 8:02.  After the goal, tensions boiled over.  Bill Hostrawser and Nick Weiss was the main event.

Buchanan added a power-play goal off a long lead pass from Matt Vinc into the empty net of Toronto at 8:47, followed by Chase Fraser scoring on a delayed penalty off a Josh Byrne feed at 9:15. 

Corey Small scored a pair for Toronto, but Chris Cloutier’s second of the night at 13:59 put an emphatic exclamation point on the game.

Final score, Buffalo 12 Toronto 4.

The Three Stars:

1. Matt Vinc
2. Nick Rose
3. Kyle Buchanan

Game Stats:

  • Toronto had the edge in shots on goal 57-50.
  • The faceoff battle also went to the Rock 11-9.
  • The loose ball battle went to Toronto 83-61.
  • Buffalo went 2 for 3 on the power-play, while the Rock went 1 for 8, also scoringshorthanded.

Top Scorers:

Buffalo Bandits:

  • Josh Byrne 1g, 4a
  • Dhane Smith 1g, 3a
  • Kyle Buchanan 3g, 1a

Toronto Rock:

  • Corey Small 2g, 0a
  • Tom Schreiber 1g, 1a
  • Justin Martin 1g, 1a

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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.