The Buffalo Bandits’ playoff chances took a good-sized hit on Saturday.
The Calgary Roughnecks handed the Bandits a 13-8 loss – their third straight defeat – in the Scotiabank Saddledome. Buffalo faces a large hill if it hopes to return to the postseason, just a year after the team reached the National Lacrosse League finals.
The Bandits had an offensive breakdown for much of the contest. They fell behind, 4-0, early in the second period. Buffalo also trailed by an 8-2 count for the fifth time this season.
The Bandits went into the locker room at the half losing by a 6-2 score. Buffalo put on a small run in the third quarter to close the gap to 9-5, but Calgary scored the next four goals to essentially wrap the game up.
Frank Scigliano, the Roughnecks goaltender, had an excellent night in the net. He stopped 46 of 54 shots on the night, including a perfect first period. Dave DiRuscio stopped 40 of 53 shots in the Buffalo goal.
On the offensive side, the Bandits had no answer for Curtis Dickson – the league’s leading scorer. He finished with four goals and six assists on the night. Jeff Shattler had three goals and two assists.
Calgary improved to 7-9 and is in the middle of a fight for a playoff spot with Vancouver.
Buffalo’s Pat Saunders had three goals, and Dhane Smith had a goal and five assists. Mitch Jones had two goals and two assists.
The Bandits have a 5-9 record with four games left. Buffalo’s situation appears to be difficult.
The Bandits still have a mathematical chance of catching both the Toronto Rock and New England Black Wolves. But – if Buffalo loses in Toronto on Friday night, the Bandits could not pass the Rock. If Buffalo also loses to Georgia on Saturday, it could not catch New England. Rochester (5-9) also could figure into the situation. Other combinations of results the rest of way also would be fatal to the Bandits’ hopes.