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Rock's Billings sees luck change for better

Garrett Billings' performance on Saturday didn't quite rewrite the National Lacrosse League's record book. It was merely one of the best performances in league history.

Billings had four goals and 11 assists for 15 points. Buffalo's Mark Steenhuis is the only player to ever have more than 11 assists in a game; he had 13 in 2009. Steenhuis is also the only player to have more than 15 points in a game (17 in that same game with Rochester).

Billings seemed as surprised as anyone by the outburst.

"All year I've had a tough time putting the ball in the net," he said. "I've had a ton of shots where the ball wasn't jumping in. Tonight, fortunately, four went in and I'm pretty happy with that."

Billings' total was helped by a power play that was clicking, as the Rock piled up seven goals with the man-advantage.

"Every power play in this league is so dangerous," Billings said. "You can't take penalties. If you do, you're going to get scored on -- especially if you have those five-minute penalties. It's tough to win a game when you do that."

Stephan Leblanc added four goals for Toronto, while Colin Doyle added eight points.

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There has been a new face hanging around the Buffalo Bandits for the past few weeks.

Mike Lines, who was replaced as the coach of the Minnesota Swarm a little more than a month ago, has joined the Bandits as a consultant.

"I've known Mike for a long time. I've been playing lacrosse against him since I was 4 years old," Buffalo coach Darris Kilgour said. "I won two Minto Cups with him, coaching with him at Niagara-on-the-Lake. We have a good working relationship."

Lines is trying to provide a fresh point of view to the team.

"He watches some game films, gives us his opinions on certain stuff," Kilgour said. "He's been very valuable as to what other teams think of us. I think that's always a good perspective to get. If you have one perspective, it's easy to fall into that trap that your perspective is right. But that's not always true. You need to get other perspectives."

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The National Lacrosse League has issued its ruling concerning the altercation that broke out late in last week's game between the Bandits and the Calgary Roughnecks.

Defenseman Travis Irving received a one-game suspension. He pulled the helmet off the head of Calgary's Geoff Snider during the incident, and then punched Snider in the head. Kilgour said Irving will appeal the suspension, so Irving was allowed to play against Toronto.

However, Tracey Kelusky was out with an Achilles injury. He joined Jay Thorimbert (ankle) on the sidelines.

Kilgour noted that it's the time of year when injuries are starting to pile up.

"It's nothing serious, but at the same time it's the little nagging ones that affect players at certain times," Kilgour said. "We're going to give some guys a rest, and hopefully the other guys can fill in behind them."

email: bbailey@buffnews.com