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Power Take: That championship feeling could return with Bandits

I’ve enjoyed our web retrospective on the Sabres’ 2006 run. But it reminds me that it’s been five years since our major pro teams appeared in a playoff game. We haven’t hosted one since the Sabres’ overtime loss to the Flyers on April 24, 2011.

Thank heavens for the Bandits, who won the East Division of the National Lacrosse League and a first-round playoff bye. They open the East finals at New England next Monday. The second game – and “minigame” tiebreaker, if needed – will be at First Niagara Center on May 21.

The Bandits haven’t made the Champion’s Cup Finals since 2008, when they won it in the Arena. They haven’t played a decisive playoff game here since losing the East final to Toronto in 2011, two weeks after the last Sabres’ home playoff game.

The Bandits have been a revelation in their 25th year of existence, the first since John Tavares retired. They have 13 wins, a team record. Dhane Smith scored 72 goals to break the NLL record. Their faithful fans believe the silver anniversary squad is destined to win an NLL title.

I can hear them now: One, two, three, four, they want five!