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Crosbie's goal is spellbinding

Normally, John Tavares is the Buffalo Bandit whose handiwork inspires comparisons to Harry Houdini.

But teammate Jason Crosbie's extraordinary individual effort in the waning minutes of Sunday's 14-8 playoff victory over the Minnesota Swarm was enough to inspire a reprogramming of the HSBC Arena public address system's music remix.

Something appropriate, of course. Maybe a verse performed by Heart?

"Try, try, try to understand. He's a magic man. Oh, he's got the magic hands."

Crosbie played the role of "Magic Man" perfectly with a short-handed goal that gave his team an insurmountable 12-8 lead with 5:38 remaining and completed an arduous climb from a very deep hole.

The Bandits had taken the last of just three penalties, a check from behind called on defenseman Chris White, and Crosbie was doing his best to burn the 30-second shot clock.

"Then he pulls that out of his bag of tricks," said Bandits All-Star midfielder Pat McCready, who returned following a three-game absence to nurse a back injury. "It was really something to see."

Crosbie kept at bay three Minnesota defenders whacking at him with their sticks for about 20 seconds then . . .

"In the last five [seconds], I just rolled, got a nice step on [Minnesota defenseman Travis Hill] and went to the net," Crosbie said of his second goal of the game. "Then I split two other guys while trying to fend them off, and put it on net as best I could."

The result was an underhand scoop shot that surely surprised Swarm goalie Nick Patterson and emphatically ended Minnesota's season.

"You don't really plan it, that stuff just kind of happens when you take a chance," said Crosbie, unable to conceal an ever-widening smile. "I shoot a lot of underhanded stuff. I was looking for something knee-high, it just went under his stick. When I saw that red [light] go off, I was really pumped. That was probably a pretty big goal."

And the Louisiana Purchase was probably a pretty big deal.

"That really gave us a nice cushion," said Tavares, normally a linemate of Crosbie's. "Those guys can definitely score quickly. It put them in a huge hole. He did a really nice job taking time off the clock. It wasn't like he went down there for just a few seconds and then simply fired it."

It was a sweet reward for Crosbie, who tallied 11 goals and 25 points during the regular season while battling a stubborn ankle injury that limited both his floor time and production.

And after his team had fallen into a 4-0 hole during the game's first six minutes it appeared it might take at least a couple of twitches from Samantha Stevens' nose to propel the Bandits into the semifinals.

"It was lucky for me and lucky for this team," Crosbie said of his 10th career postseason goal.

"But even when things happen you can't just explode like a can of pop when it gets shaken. You have to be more like a can of Gatorade. When you shake it up, it stays still. We knew we'd get back in there and we did."

e-mail: tborrelli@buffnews.com

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