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Bandits lose NLL championship to Calgary in OT

Rhys Duch scored the game-winning goal one minute into overtime and Calgary defeated Buffalo, 14-13, to win its third NLL Championship Saturday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.

Dane Dobbie was a thorn in the Bandits’ side, just as he was in Game 1. He scored four goals and dished out three assists for a team-leading seven points.

Shawn Evans led the Bandits with two goals and an assist for seven points of his own.

Buffalo got out to a 4-3 lead after one quarter courtesy of Corey Small, Chris Cloutier and Chase Fraser.

The tide of the game changed drastically in the second period, though.

The Roughnecks showed why they had the top power-play squad in the league as they went on a six-goal run to take a 9-6 lead.

It started when Fraser was sent to the penalty box for a delay-of-game penalty.

Jesse King drove down the turf and fired a shot past goalie Matt Vinc to cut Buffalo’s lead to 5-4.

King’s goal, his fifth of the postseason, kick-started the Riggers’ offense. Calgary scored four more goals, two more on the man-advantage.

The 17,038 gathered at the arena also fueled the Roughnecks’ big run with loud cheers and chants throughout the game.

Despite the big run, the Bandits did not go down easily. Goals from Dhane Smith and Matt Spanger helped to quiet the crowd as a comeback began.

Buffalo tied the game at 12 with four minutes to go, and the action reached a fever point.

Both teams traded shots, but each goaltender stood tall until Dobbie found its way past Vinc with 54 seconds left.

Bandits coach John Tavares huddled his team up for one last-ditch effort with the season on the line.

Smith took the ball out, passed to Evans, who fired a shot that was blocked.

Cloutier grabbed the rebound, passed it to Smith who dumped it to Small who fired from Del Bianco’s right side to tie the game with 27 seconds to go, silencing the crowd once more.

Dobbie nearly won the game again after that, but his shot hit the goalpost and the game went to overtime.

Buffalo got the ball to start the extra period, but Small’s shot was blocked by Del Bianco.

Calgary got the ball back, drove once more and Duch finished off the Bandits with a shot from the left side.

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