The Buffalo Bandits' problems have reached serious levels.
The Bandits dropped a 18-10 decision to the Rock in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre on Friday night. They fell to 1-4, tying the worst five-game start in team history.
That score was an accurate indicator of what happened. The Bandits fell behind quickly in this latest loss. Buffalo had numerous defensive breakdowns, allowing Toronto to get open for uncontested shots. They also did little on offense, and were beaten to several loose balls. The Bandits also took too many penalties; a better Toronto power play would have made it an even more one-sided game.
Dhane Smith, Craig England and Alex Kedoh Hill had a pair of goals for Buffalo.
Late to the party: One of the biggest problems for the Bandits this season has come at the start. Often Buffalo has dug itself a big early hole, and been unable to get out of it. It happened again against the Rock.
The Bandits gave up the game's first two goals within the first 3:05, but fought back on scores by Kevin Brownell and England. But then the news turned completely bad. Toronto scored the game's next six goals. That make it an 8-2 lead before the 20-minute mark of the first half.
What's more, it could have been worse. Toronto was only 1 for 5 on the power play. One of the Buffalo penalties was a five-minute major to Mitch de Snoo for high sticking. Dan Lintner and Tom Schreiber completed hat tricks before the first half was over.
Another switch: Anthony Cosmo lasted less than 20 minutes in the Buffalo goal. He allowed eight goals on 26 shots in that time. Cosmo has started three games to date, and not finished any of them. In the second game, he did suffer a knee injury and had to leave as a precaution. In the other two games, Cosmo received no help in front of him.
Looking back: Buffalo's last 1-4 start came in 2010. The Bandits dropped their first four games, but beat Minnesota in Game Five. Buffalo was also 1-4 in 1998. The Bandits made the playoffs in both of those other seasons.
Injury Report: A couple of reinforcements turned up for the Bandits on Friday night. Smith returned to the lineup for Buffalo. He sprained his ankle in the second week of the season, and missed two full games. Alex Kedoh Hill, who missed two games with a hamstring injury, returned to duty as well.
On the other side, Anthony Malcom has been placed on the injured reserve list. He has an upper-body injury.
Departing: Craig Point was released as part of the flurry of roster moves. Point only played on opening night for the Bandits, and did not score.
Scratched: Matthew Bennett of Buffalo and Kieran McArdle were designated to sit out Friday's game.
Next Up: The Bandits get a week off before their next game, a matchup with New England at the KeyBank Center on Feb. 17.