Ryan Benesch is starting to hang around with some very good company.
Last Sunday, the Buffalo Bandits’ forward broke the franchise record for goals in a season. He had four goals in the win against the New England Black Wolves. That increased his season total to 52, and he added three more on Saturday to finish with 55 on the year. The old record was 51, set by John Tavares (2001 and 2009) and Mark Steenhuis.
“They both congratulated me,” Benesch said. “It’s a nice honor, but the way I look at it, those guys did it in one less game than I did. In my mind, they still have the record.”
Tavares played in a 14-game season in 2001, while Tavares and Steenhuis had 16 games on the schedule in 2009. Last Sunday’s contest was the 17th of the season for Benesch.
One interesting aspect of Benesch’s total is that he had only four power-play goals. Tavares had 15 goals with the man advantage in 2009, while Steenhuis had only three. Power-play goals were not included in official statistics in 2001.
“This is a credit to everyone I play with – the guys that don’t get noticed, the guys who don’t get the goals and assists,” Benesch said. “Without them, I don’t get the shots, and I don’t get those goals.”
Benesch cracked the National Lacrosse League’s all-time top 10 list for goals in a season.
This is a slightly odd time to add a coach to the staff, but the Bandits did exactly that this past week.
Davide DiRuscio came off the injured list to return to his role as backup goaltender. Kurtis Wagar, who came out of retirement to fill that spot for three games, was put on the retired list and appointed the goaltending coach for the rest of the season.
Mitch Jones is adjusting well to his new surroundings.
After finishing up another hockey season with Northern Michigan University, he’s back for a second partial season with the Bandits. Jones, who had four goals Saturday, says it’s been easier this year as compared to last year.
“I’m familiar with 95 percent of the players and with the coaching staff,” he said. “I was better prepared for it. Guys like Ryan Benesch and John Tavares make it easy.”