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OPEN TRYOUT PAYS OFF WITH SIGNING OF DEFENDER

The open tryout the Buffalo Bandits held last month has unearthed at least one gem.

The Bandits have signed defenseman Ray Guze to a one-year contract.

"I think it's great Ray has made the team," Bandits General Manager Kurt Silcott said. "You always hope you can find one player at those types of (open) tryouts and that usually doesn't happen. We had over 100 players show up (on October 26 at HSBC Arena) and Ray has worked hard throughout the process and earned a spot on this year's club."

Guze, who is 6-foot-2, played two seasons for the Burnaby (B.C.) Lakers and three seasons with the North Shore Thunder in the Western Lacrosse Association. He also spent one year playing professional hockey with the Rockford IceHogs of the United Hockey League.

"He's a very athletic defenseman with great footwork," Silcott said. "We noticed his footwork right away and he continued to impress the coaching staff at training camp (last weekend)."

The Bandits made nine cuts following training camp and welcomed back a couple of players who have won championships in Buffalo uniforms.

Forwards Travis Kilgour and Miles General are trying to win roster spots.

Kilgour, who's 29, played 51 games with the Bandits, from 1995 through 2000, and had 55 goals, 60 assists and 115 points. He was released by Buffalo when then-head coach Ted Sawicki opted for an up-tempo style of lacrosse and has played for the Washington Power, New Jersey Storm and Montreal Express since leaving Buffalo. He became an unrestricted free agent when the Express suspended operations after last season.

He played on Buffalo's 1996 championship team and is the youngest of the three Kilgour brothers. If he makes the team, the Kilgours will be reunited for the first time since playing together as Bandits in 1999. Rich Kilgour, the oldest at 33, is entering his 12th year with the Bandits and Darris, 32, is the head coach.

General, who's a steelworker by day, is a physical player who was a member of the 1993 Major Indoor Lacrosse League champion Bandits, when he scored one goal in six games. He hasn't played professionally since.
The Bandits will host the Storm in an exhibition game at 7 p.m. on Dec. 6 at HSBC Arena. The game will be free and open to the public.

The game will be "Pick-A-Seat" night, where fans will have the opportunity to choose available seats for the purchase of a season ticket package. Bandits sales representatives will be on hand to assist fans with any questions.

Buffalo opens its preseason campaign in Ottawa on Saturday. The regular season faces off Jan. 4 at HSBC Arena against the Albany Attack.
For the third straight season, the Bandits will practice at the Lakemount Sportsplex in Grimsby, Ont. They'll work out at 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays, 8 p.m. Saturdays and 8 a.m. Sundays through Dec. 29. After that, they'll work out on Tuesday nights only in Grimsby. . . . Rookie Billy Dee Smith, the team's first-round draft choice, is the brother of former Bandit Jason Luke, who had 28 goals and 55 points in 29 games with Buffalo from 1996-98. Smith had 16 goals, 33 points and 59 penalty minutes with the Junior A St. Catharines Athletics last summer. "He's a good defensive player who runs the transition game very well too," Bandits forward Mike Accursi said of Smith. "He runs like a deer, and he's a very tough kid with a bit of a nasty streak. I think we all expect him to make an impact right away."
e-mail: tborrelli@buffnews.com

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