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Late West goal spoils the day for Dietrich

For more than 23 minutes, Steve Dietrich was making a great case for the Most Valuable Player award at Saturday's National Lacrosse League All-Star Game.

But the final 6 1/2 minutes proved prophetic for the Buffalo Bandits goaltender.

"All-Star Games aren't that fun for goalies if you take them too seriously," said Dietrich, after the West Division scored five unanswered goals in the final 6 minutes, 37 seconds to beat the East, 14-13, before 15,924 in the Air Canada Centre.

Dietrich, who came on to start the second half with the game tied at 7-7, stopped 24 of the first 26 shots he faced. But the East was done in on a goal by Calgary forward and game MVP Lewis Ratcliff

Ratcliff's fourth score of the day came with 4.4 seconds to play. He was stationed to the left of the goal to received a sensational blind, diagonal, behind-the-back pass from Colorado's Gavin Prout that traveled about 50 feet through a cluttered crease area.

"Chugger [Dietrich] played great, we just didn't help him out," said Bandits midfielder Mark Steenhuis, who led the East with four points on two goals and two assists, plus 11 loose balls and a team-high 10 shots. "He made some great saves even if a couple did sneak in."

Bandits forward John Tavares had an assist and nine loose balls. The point tied him with Paul Cantabene as the career scoring leader in All-Star Games with 11 goals and 18 points in five contests.

"Sometimes when the goalies play so well the rest of the guys start cheating too much. That resulted in some transition goals against us," said Tavares, who also made four steals.

Dietrich finished with 27 saves. But West goalie Dallas Eliuk of the Portland LumberJax, who had 17 stops, kept the East off the board for the final 12:22 after it had opened a 13-9 lead. Eliuk has been the winning goalie in all six All-Star Games.

"That's what Dallas has been doing for [16] years," Dietrich said. "When he gets hot, he's like a stone wall."


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