ST. PAUL, Minn. — The playoff picture in the National Lacrosse League’s East Division has gained some clarity, thanks to yet another loss by the Buffalo Bandits.
The Bandits dropped their fifth straight game, a 10-9 decision to the Minnesota Swarm. Buffalo, which had been 8-2 less than a month ago, fell to 8-7.
The defeat, combined with Rochester’s win over Vancouver, means the Knighthawks have clinched the division title. Toronto’s win over Philadelphia gave the Rock the third and final playoff spot in the East. That means Toronto and Buffalo will meet in the first round of the postseason at a site to be determined. The Bandits could have clinched the second spot in the division and its accompanying guaranteed home game with a win Saturday.
It was the second straight one-goal loss by the Bandits in Minnesota this season. This came down to the final five minutes. With the score tied, 9-9, Logan Schuss scored with 4:37 left to play. It was his fourth goal of the game, and it came less than a minute after Mark Steenhuis tied the contest for Buffalo.
The teams played a scoreless third quarter. It was only the fourth such period in league history. Oddly, two have been played in games between the Bandits and Swarm in Minnesota this season.
Ryan Benesch was the only Bandit with two goals. John Tavares (rest) and Billy Dee Smith (ankle) did not play for Buffalo.
The Bandits will play at Toronto on Friday night, and then go to Rochester on Saturday.