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Live from First Niagara Center: Bandits vs. Knighthawks

6:53 p.m. - What more could you ask from a lacrosse game? Everything on the line for both teams. A record crowd in the house.

OK, maybe the weather could be warmer. But the Bandits and Knighthawks are ready to go at 7:30 p.m. If you aren't here, you can watch the game on the CBS Sports Network.

As you hopefully read today, the Bandits are out of the playoffs if they lose tonight. They will play Philadelphia somewhere in the first round if they win. Rochester wraps up a playoff spot with a win, but would need help from Minnesota if it loses.

The biggest news out of the morning shootaround was the calf injury of John Tavares. He did not fully participate in the workout, and was questionable for tonight's game. We'll see if you pops up on the list of scratches.

Darris Kilgour said he expects Anthony Cosmo will be in goal tonight, barring any complications from his concussion from two weeks ago.

7:13 p.m. - Scratches are full of surprises. Tavares is in the lineup, and Kurtis Wagar is in the starting lineup. Hmmm. Steve Priolo, who was supposed to have a hearing on his league suspension, is also playing.

Luke Wiles, Derek Hopcroft and Hayden Smith will sit.

7:26 p.m. - The Bandits just introduced their fan of their year. Words fail me in trying to describe his suit.

7:31 p.m. - Just retweeted a photo of the suit @WDX2BB, so take a look. And if you aren't following me, you can help me get to 200 followers (I'm at 199).

7:38 p.m. - Bandits had a moment of silence for those who affected by events in Boston.

7:47 p.m. - Can't ask for a better start out of Buffalo. Bandits lead, 2-0. D. Smith and Wilson with the goals. And as I type, Craig Point narrows the lead to 2-1.

7:56 p.m. - Shawn Williams and Dhane Smith have the lead up to 4-1.

8:01 p.m. - Matt Vinc has faced seven shots so far and made three saves. Buffalo has 4-2 lead at the TV timeout.

8:12 p.m. - John Tavares' goal was wiped out after review. We are tied, 4-4, after 15 minutes. Rochester has to feel relatively good about taking a shot early in the game in terms of the energy of the full house, and coming back to tie.

8:22 p.m. - This game definitely has settled down. There hasn't been much action in the first five minutes of the second period. Have to think that would help the Knighthawks.

8:27 p.m. - Matt Vinc has broken the NLL record for saves in a season. He went past 644 by Rob Blasdell  of Albany in 2002. Consider yourself a trivia expert if you knew that and didn't live in Rochester. 

8:32 p.m. - Dan Dawson has scored two goals in a row for the Knighthawks. That makes it 6-4, Rochester. And that's five straight goals for the Knighthawks.

8:38 p.m. - Bandits have given up runs of 11 goals in a row, 9 and 8. Rochester is at six and counting.

8:39 p.m. - Power-play goal by Wilson puts an end to that streak. Buffalo needed that one badly.

8:43 p.m. - We go to halftime with Rochester leading, 7-5. I go to the radio booth for an interview with John Gurtler.

9:02 p.m. - We're back. Buffalo could use the boost of a power-play goal to start the third quarter.

9:07 p.m. - They got that power-play goal, Shawn Williams dribbling one in. It's 7-6 with 9:39 left in the third quarter. Bandits playing with a little more energy. And now, in tribute to Mike Harrington, we have the blooper reel on the video board.

9:17 p.m. - Hat trick for Craig Point, who has been outstanding for the Knighthawks. It's 8-6 with 4:50 to go in third quarter.

9:25 p.m. - Billy Dee Smith just ran over a Rochester player on a two-on-one break and scored to cut the lead to 8-7.

9:28 p.m. - Joel McCready increases the Knighthawks lead to 9-7 after three quarters.

9:38 p.m. - Bandits trail, 10-8, with 9:52 to go.

9:53 p.m. - Two minutes left, and it's still 10-8. Time is now a factor, as the cliche goes.

9:58 p.m. - Steenhuis goal isn't enough. Bandits lose 10-9. Season is over.

11:51 p.m. - My two stories on the game will be posted on line in the near future. (The notebook features a conversation with John Tavares about his future.) Short version - after a good start, the Bandits had a long stretch where they couldn't get enough done. They rallied in the end but fell short. If this sounds like a description of the entire season, you are thinking like I'm thinking.

For those of you wondering, Darris Kilgour said he saw signs of progress at the end and hopes he's lucky enough to take on the challenge of continuing the rebuilding the team as head coach next season. I don't think 6-10 and missing the playoffs will go over well in a town with such good fan support. Could be an active offseason, although it will be too long for everyone's tastes.

It's been another interesting season. I appreciate the kind words of readers/fans throughout the season. Let's do it again in January.

--- Budd Bailey

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