Share this article

print logo

Quick hits: Rock 19, Bandits 15

The Buffalo Bandits are on the clock.

The Bandits wrapped up the first overall pick in the National Lacrosse League draft this year, and they hadn't even finished their game with the Toronto Rock when it happened.

Rochester beat Georgia earlier in the night on Saturday, which meant Buffalo was guaranteed to finish last overall. The only catch might come if the league expands in the offseason, and a new team is awarded the first pick.

In the meantime, Toronto achieved its goal for the night with a 19-15 win over the Bandits. The Rock needed a win and a New England loss to claim second place in the NLL East and home field in next week's playoff game. Toronto trailed, 15-12, early in the fourth quarter - right about the time the Black Wolves lost to Vancouver in overtime. The Rock scored the next seven goals to take control.

Buffalo's biggest highlight came late in the third quarter. Mark Steenhuis had two assists within 18 seconds. That brought his career total to 1,000, the ninth NLL player to reach that total.

Ryan Benesch and Pat Saunders had four goals each to lead the Bandits, who finished with a 6-12 record., That tied the team's all-time worst winning record, previously set in 1999.

Opening half: The Bandits were a week late in displaying a balanced offense. Buffalo moved the ball quite well in the first 30 minutes of Saturday's game, and that was reflected in a very balanced attack. For example, defender Mitch de Snoo had assists on three straight goals in the second period.

It was quite a contrast to last week's Georgia game. Buffalo couldn't get offense from any source for much of the night and suffered a one-sided loss to the Swarm.

Injured list: Dhane Smith's season ended with a seat in the stands on Saturday night. The Bandit is still recovering from last week's ankle injury, and did not play against the Rock. He finishes the year as the team's leading scorer once again. Smith had 30 goals and 51 assists for 81 points in 14 games. He also led the team win power play goals with nine.

Buffalo also was missing David Brock on Saturday. He injured his wrist last week against Georgia. Craig England took his place in the lineup. Brier Jonathan took Brock's place on the roster, but was scratched.

Last rodeo: Anthony Cosmo was given the start for the Bandits in goal. We'll have to see if it is last game in the National Lacrosse League.

Cosmo said last week that he wants to spend more time with his family, but isn't ready to make a final decision about retirement. However, Buffalo coach Troy Cordingley said he wants the veteran back,.

"I'm a strong advocate of Anthony Cosmo," he said. "I think he's been very good for us this year. Defensively we've struggled. There's no doubt about that. But Anthony Cosmo still has two or three years left. He's a very intelligent goalie. If I have anything to do with it, this will not be his last game."

Switching goalies: The Bandits usually have been the team to switch goalies this season, having done it seven times entering the game. But Toronto made the move in the second period, pulling Nick Rose in favor of Brandon Miller. Rose gave up eight goals in the first 20 minutes.

Award time: The Bandits handed out some team awards before the game Saturday.

Craig England was the team's breakout player of the year. He celebrated by scoring the game's first goal. Blaze Riorden was picked as the rookie of the year, Dhane Smith is the offensive player of the year, and Steve Priolo is the defensive player of the year.

More from Troy: Cordingley had a few other interesting observations after the morning practice on Saturday.

On whether he can learn much about his players in a game like Saturday's, where there is nothing at stake: "I would think we'd take more negatives than positives from this game. Everybody that's packed it in already - you notice that. We're professionals and we need to prepare for this game. We still need to play."

On the season: "As a coach, the biggest lesson I've learned is - don't take things for granted. Last year, we we might have been blinded by making it to the finals and being three goals away from a title. ... Everything went right for us last year, and this year a lot went wrong. We have to do a better job of correcting things and a better job of accountability."

Counting the house: 18,417.

Next up: The National Lacrosse League has said that it hopes to get the season going a little earlier next season. Therefore, Saturday's game probably won't be the last for the Bandits in 2017.

There are no comments - be the first to comment