Josh Byrne scored seven goals for Buffalo but it took a shot that ricocheted off the backside of the Colorado goalkeeper in overtime that gave the Bandits’ a 13-12 victory over the Mammoth on Saturday night in Denver.
Corey Small got the winner at 1:59 of overtime on a shot that deflected off goalie Dillon Ward, off the post, off Ward’s backside and trickled into the net.
Byrne’s big night, included a highlight reel behind-the-back score that made ESPN’s Sunday morning Best Plays and the goal that sent the game into overtime, led the Bandits to their fourth victory in five games in the National Lacrosse League. He also had an assist for an eight-point night.
Small scored twice and Kevin Brownell, Steve Priolo, Brent Noseworthy and Chase Fraser tallied single goals for the Bandits. Dhane Smith had six assists for the Bandits.
Ryan Lee, who was named the game’s first star over Byrne, led the Mammoth with five goals. Lee gave Colorado its first lead of the game, 2-1, at the 3:11 mark.
Byrne had two of the goals as the Bandits took a 4-3 lead after one. He scored twice, including a penalty shot, to help Buffalo to a 7-4 halftime lead.
The Bandits took a 9-8 lead into the fourth quarter but the Mammoth twice tied the score then took a 12-11 lead at 10:53 on a goal by Jacob Ruest.
With an extra attacker on, Byrne got the goal that send the game to overtime with 1:03 left in regulation. Small’s game-winner came after a Buffalo time out.
Colorado outshot Buffalo. 53-50. Buffalo had more loose balls at 80-67 and the faceoffs were almost even at 16 wins for Colorado and 13 for Buffalo. In net, Matt Vinc of the Bandits saved 41 out of 53 shots including one in OT. Ward finished with 37 saves out of 50 shots, including two in OT.
Buffalo will take on the Rochester Knighthawks on Friday at KeyBank Center. Colorado will play San Diego in the first ever NLL game in Las Vegas on Saturday.