The Buffalo Gamblers will need heavy duty shovels to dig themselves out of the playoff hole they've dug now.
Ted Dowling and Jeff Wilfong scored three goals apiece Thursday night to lead the Brampton Excelsiors to an 11-7 victory over the Gamblers at Marine Midland Arena in Game Two of the Ontario Lacrosse Association's Major Division championship series.
Brampton (22-2) leads the best-of-seven series, 2-0, and hosts the Gamblers (16-8-1) at 7 p.m. Sunday in Game Three.
The Gamblers never led in losing to Excelsiors for the fourth time in five meetings this season. Buffalo got as close as 5-4 when Paul Gait scored his second goal of the game, just 35 seconds into the third period, but the Excelsiors responded with scores by Bill Phillips, Ryan Sanderson and Wilfong to take command at 8-4 with 10:56 remaining.
Curt Malawsky, Mike Ladouceur and Mike Accursi scored down the stretch for Buffalo but Brampton answered with goals by Dean Cecconi, Dowling and Chris Driscoll to remain at arm's length.
At least two Buffalo players had to be restrained from going into the stands as the game ended. They were reportedly after Brampton fans who had spit at them.
The game was tied just once, at 2-2 in the first period, when the Gamblers got successive goals from Darris Kilgour and Gait after Wilfong and Mark Skillen had broken the ice for Brampton.
But the Excelsiors went to the first intermission ahead, 4-2, on goals by Wilfong and Dowling later in the first period.
Goaltenders Ryan Kells (Buffalo) and Pat O'Toole (Brampton) were the story of the second period as the teams scored just one goal apiece. Rich Kilgour got Buffalo within 4-3 but Dowling's second of the game put Brampton up, 5-3, entering the third.
Travis Kilgour had two assists for the Gamblers, who were penalized 11 times for 22 minutes compared to eight and 16 for Brampton.