Being Cory Bomberry's teammate has benefits, especially if you're a goaltender.
"That saves you some bruises, that's for sure," said Buffalo Bandits netminder Ken Montour. "He has easily the hardest shot in the league. But he doesn't shoot it quite as hard in practice. He takes mercy on the goalies and always shoots low at us. He could do major damage if he gets you in the head."
There's a reason "You Dropped a Bomb on Me," by the Gap Band blares from the public address system when Bomberry scores a goal at HSBC Arena, where the Bandits host the Philadelphia Wings at 7:30 p.m. Friday in a National Lacrosse League East Division semifinal.
Nobody knows it better than the guys trying to stop those missiles, which come off his stick from a variety of angles.
"With a fast, quick shooter you have to watch them," said Bandits goalie Daniel Sams. "But the heavier shots like Cory's seem to go right to your bones."
The 31-year-old Bomberry is one of the reasons the Bandits finished 10-6 and earned the top seed for the playoffs. The 12-year veteran had 17 goals, 38 assists and 55 points -- the most he's tallied since the Bandits acquired him prior to the 2006 season and his highest-scoring campaign since 2004. He also scooped 59 loose balls and took on the physically demanding job of faceoffs, winning 94 of 207.
"A lot of people see Cory just as a guy who shoots real hard," said Bandits coach Darris Kilgour. "But he's had probably his most consistent year. He contributes all over the floor."
Bomberry insists that all the lacrosse players in his family have been blessed with hard shots. But he's more than just a guy who can bring the heat.
"You work on your accuracy first for sure," said Bomberry, who has 216 career goals. "Your shooting percentage needs to be better than your miles per hour. If you can do that and shoot the ball hard too, that's the best."
When the ball is in Bomberry's stick, everybody on the floor knows about it.
"We've played on the same teams ever since tyke and he's always had the hardest shot," said defenseman Clay Hill. "He never brags about his shot. But even when you play on his team, if you go through the middle you still have a chance to get hit with that shot. And you can get hurt by that shot."
Bomberry remembers hitting Vancouver goaltender Dwight Maetche squarely in the mask during a playoff game with the Rochester Knighthawks in 2002. But he takes no pleasure in causing his opponents pain.
"Goalies stand in there and don't get out of the way for anybody because that's their job," Bomberry said. "None of it [hitting an opposing goalie] is ever intentional. I don't like shooting on our goalies, that's for sure. I don't want to hit anybody or hurt them."
Still, goalies have to be willing to take a beating when they see No. 72 go into shooting motion.
"His shot is so heavy that when it hits you, you know right away that was Cory Bomberry's shot," said Bandits goalie Mike Thompson. "And you have to respect it. He's gotten me in the toes and the wrists, the stomach and a couple of other spots before. You know it's going to hurt no matter where it gets you.
"I think I've designed a lot of my pads around him. If you let it become fear then it's a problem for you. I've gone against him in the summertime and it's definitely better having him alongside me than facing him."