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Steenhuis has record-setting night Bandit sets NLL mark with 17 points in win over Rock

Mark Steenhuis took an eraser to the National Lacrosse League record book Saturday night.

The Bandits' offensive star had one of the greatest games in team history. He scored four goals with 13 assists for 17 points, as the Bandits went on to crush their longtime rival, the Toronto Rock, 25-10. The result thoroughly delighted the sellout crowd of 18,690 in HSBC Arena.

"I think you saw great ball movement tonight," Steenhuis said. "Everyone was shooting the ball really well, picking corners and getting open. When you have a combination of those things, the offense is real nice."

Steenhuis set NLL records for assists in a game and points in a game. They previously were held by the Rochester Knighthawks' Derek Malawsky (11 assists in 2002) and John Grant (15 points in 2007).

The Bandits' Derek Keenan lost a couple of places in the team record book, as the original Bandit had 10 assists and 14 points in a 1992 win against Baltimore. John Tavares has had 10 assists in a game twice, while Malawsky had 14 points in a 2001 game against Baltimore.

Steenhuis leads the Bandits with 23 goals and 31 assists for 54 points for the season. Teammate Roger Vyse enjoyed the show Saturday.

"He's got a great shot and he's strong on his feet. That's a good start," Vyse said about Steenhuis. "He uses the rest of us really well out there, and it's good when we can help him. You can just see the defense react when he's got the ball. That's why he's one of the best players in the league."

Vyse had to take second billing to Steenhuis on the night, but he had a game to remember as well. Vyse scored six goals to come within one of the team record in that category.

"Roger has been coming along for the last three years," said Bandits coach Darris Kilgour. "He's hitting his full stride now. When he gets opportunities, he can bury the ball. It's great to get Roger going."

Vyse added two assists for eight points. The rest of the scoring list is a long one, as could be expected in the Bandits' biggest offensive game of the season. Tavares had four goals, Sean Greenhalgh, Kevin Dostie, Tom Montour and Cory Bomberry added two goals each, and the list went on from there.

It was something of a rerun of the Bandits' last home game, a 23-6 demolition of Rochester.

"Once a year, it seems like you can run up the score like that. We've had two this year already," Steenhuis said. "That shows you the depth of this team. When we bear down, we're definitely tough to beat."

Toronto couldn't beat Buffalo as the Rock dropped to 2-4. The Bandits improved to 6-1. If Kilgour was looking for a response to the team's first loss of the season last week in Philadelphia, he got one -- and it was the right one as far as he was concerned.

"Any time that you don't get the effort, that's a no-no. You have to have the effort," he said. "Definitely last week was on us. The loss was a really good lesson for us, and I think the guys took the message well."

The Bandits never trailed, taking a 3-0 lead in the first five minutes. They scored at least six goals in every quarter, while the Rock never had more than three goals. Toronto at least will have the chance to come right back and make up for Saturday's result, as the same two teams will play in Toronto on Friday night.

"I expect them to come out with more intensity than they had tonight," Kilgour said. "They are a very proud team, and they have a lot to think about. I'm expecting a pretty rough game."

e-mail: bbailey@buffnews.com

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