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Small's OT goal big for Bandits

A late Bandits rally forced overtime where Corey Small delivered a game-winning goal to lift Buffalo over Rochester, 16-15, Friday night at the KeyBank Center.

Chris Cloutier scored with seven seconds left to force the extra period. Buffalo improved to 5-1 overall with the win and stayed in contention with NLL North-leading Halifax (6-1). The Thunderbirds fell to Toronto on Friday.

Cloutier finished with four goals and four assists for eight points. Dhane Smith was Buffalo’s points leader, racking up four goals and seven assists for 11 points.

Matt Vinc was strong in net and made 53 saves.

Buffalo opened the game in complete control of Rochester. Goals from Cloutier, Smith and Josh Byrne helped the Bandits build a 7-3 lead headed into the halftime break.

The game took a turn for the worse in the third quarter. Star defenseman Steve Priolo took a shot directly to his head and was assisted off the field by doctors. He did not return.

The Bandits’ defense struggled without him. Rochester scored five straight goals to open the third quarter and three more to take an 11-9 lead.

Buffalo remained down by two, 14-12, with five minutes to spare. While Rochester stayed one step ahead, the Bandits were able to hold the Knighthawks and forced the extra period.

Buffalo will be at Vancouver next Friday for a 10:30 p.m. game. with the Warriors.

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