Bring The Boys Back Home

It has been almost a month since the Banditland faithful have had the chance to cheer on their team. Saturday night at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo 18,690 welcomed them back. And they thanked their fans on this Valentine’s Day with a sweetheart of a destruction of the Toronto Rock. The final score was indicative of most of the game, with the Bandits scoring on greater than 35% of their shots. The final was 25-10.

The first quarter accounted for nine goals with Buffalo holding a 6-3 lead after 15 minutes. The Bandits started fast, chasing Rock starter Bob Watson from the Toronto net before the game was five minutes old. Goals from Cory Bomberry, Sean Greenhalgh, and Mark Steenhuis forced the Rock bench to make the change to Mike Atwood at 4:48 of the first. As it did last week, the move appeared to work as Toronto quickly countered with goals from Chris Driscoll and Blaine Manning.

But Cory Bomberry would wire a cannon over the shoulder of a dropping Attwood only 18 seconds after Manning’s goal and Steenhuis would follow that up with his second. Manning would get his second of the game before John Tavares took a pass just off the crease and scored while diving across the front of Attwood.

The second quarter opened with Roger Vyse netting two quick goals before the Rock battled back with a couple of their own; one from Kasey Beirnes and one courtesy of Luke Wiles. Wiles beat his man high and placed a bounce shot between the legs of starter Ken Montour. But from that point on, Buffalo put the game into another orbit and dominated in every way a lacrosse game could possibly be dominated.

Earlier this season, the Bandits put a major beating on the Rochester Knighthawks. I remember that night thinking to myself if the Bandits were that good, or if Rochester was that bad. Well Rochester has somewhat turned their game around with a few healthier bodies and some more spirited play.

Saturday night I was asking myself the same thing. Was Buffalo that good tonight or was Toronto that bad? Yes, and yes respectively. I hate sounding like a broken record. But the same old, same old occurred tonight. Buffalo broke to the net at will in this game quite early, and quite often. Toronto defensively could not keep up. And many times that resulted in an immediate goal, or an eventual goal, after a penalty was taken by Toronto. Vyse, Steenhuis, Dostie, Greenhalgh. Tavares and company were on a different playing surface than the Rock were.

Offensively for Toronto, Blaine Manning and Luke Wiles both scored three and that was about it. Goalies Bob Watson and Mike Attwood were in a revolving door, with each one playing a few minutes only to be replaced by the other after every few goals. The frustration level of Toronto showed in the second half with a few spirited matches, ending in some early exits for both sides. Manning shared fisticuffs with Chris White, while Scott Campbell went a bout with Brandon Francis. A little later in the fourth, Brian Croswell and Cam Woods completed the trifecta.

With the game going the way it did, these two meet again in less than a week. Buffalo is in Toronto next Friday night at the ACC. It will be interesting to see which two teams will show up, and if the bad blood spills over.

Other Game Notes:
-Steenhuis was game MVP and had 17 points (4 goals, 13 assists). That set a Bandits single game record for points and an NLL (unconfirmed) record for assists in the process. He also passed the 400 point mark in his NLL career.
– Cory Bomberry (3G, 6A) and Roger Vyse (6G, 2A) had very strong games as well as did so many of the Bandits.
– Man when things go right, they really go great. Ian Llord and Billy Dee Smith both scored on breakaways. Tom Montour had two goals as well.
– Lewis Ratcliff was injured during the second quarter and I do not recall seeing him again. I believe it was his shoulder or back.
– Buffalo held the edge in shots 66-45, and loose balls 85-72.
– Toronto won the faceoff battle winning 29-39.
– Toronto was 0-1 on the PP, the Bandits 5-10.
– I was asked to join Buffalo Bandits radio play by play man John Gurtler at half time. We spoke about the game, the NLL, and Lacrosse Inside The Game, along with the Canadian Lacrosse Magazine. It was a great time and I thank Chris Ostrander of the Bandits and WKBW-1520 am in Buffalo.

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2 Comments

  1. On the live feed they said Steenhuis has the NLL record now for total points in a single game, not assists (though he may have that as well). Prior to that John Grant Jr. had it with 15 points. 15 points was also the previous Bandit record. Which of course makes little sense since he got the record on Jan 2007 as a Knighthawk. (Or so sayeth http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Grant,_Jr._(lacrosse) )

    -adam

  2. It’s been confirmed that he set a league, not just Bandits record, for assists and points in a single game. Although I think at least one assist was not fairly awarded to him. Either way, he still beats both records. And to Adam, 14 points in a single game was a Buffalo record not 15, set by Derek Keenan in 1992 and Derek Malawsky also did it in 1991.


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