Bandits Off To New York To Visit Titans

In front of 13,343 crazy fans, the Buffalo Bandits held off the Boston Blazers for an 11-8 win to advance to the Eastern Conference final next week. As I had thought and predicted, this was a gem of a game. Hard hitting, fast pace, huge goaltending, and great special teams, it had all you would want in a lacrosse game.

The game opened up with Boston scoring first. On a delayed penalty Brendan Thenhaus took a cross floor pass from Daryl Veltman and did not miss a near empty net, with Buffalo goalie Ken Montour out playing the angle. From there though the Bandits took over scoring the next four goals in succession. Cory Bomberry, Mark Steenhuis, Kyle Schmelzle, and Steenhuis once more, built a 4-1 lead with just over six minutes to play in the first. Steenhuis’ first goal was highlight, when he dove across the crease and dropped the ball over Anthony Cosmo ‘s shoulder on the short side. The home crowd was loud and boisterous and things were not going in the Blazers favour.

After Montour brought the Banditland fans to their feet with about four highlight stops of his own, Boston would score their second of the night on another cross floor pass. This time while on the Power Play, Dan Dawson fed Daryl Veltman, and Veltman had the yawning cage to throw in to. Moments later, Dawson fed Thenhaus on another Power Play, on the low crease. Thenhaus came out to the middle of the net and beat Montour to the high right. Before the first would end, Buffalo would call a time out and with a 6-5 advantage on the floor and some slick passing, Sean Greenhalgh, just off the left crease would put the last pass behind Cosmo. After one, it was 5-4 Bandits.

Both teams came out hustling and this was playoff lacrosse. Boston was fast all over the floor, while Buffalo was double teaming Boston on every chance they could in the Bandits end.

John Tavares would open the second quarter scoring while shorthanded. After Dan Dawson’s shot from the top of a Boston Power Play went off the end boards, Tavares played the bounce off the boards, scooped the ball up just before center floor and raced the floor, fighting off a check. A sweet move on Cosmo and the Bandits had a 6-4 lead. Matt Lyons and Daryl Veltman would tie the game before Mike Accursi found himself all alone on the crease during a Bandit Power Play. Accursi is too good to leave like that and the Bandits once again took the lead 7-6. That would be the half time score.

It would take until just over one minute left in the third quarter of play to see our first goal of the frame. Daryl Veltman on a Boston Power Play would fire a shot over the left shoulder of Ken Montour for the only score. The quarter was an absolutley thrilling one though. Buffalo continued to double team all over their own end resulting in a number of great scoring chances for Boston. But Ken Montour was stellar in the Buffalo net and after three we were tied at 7-7. There was an air of excitement but also a little uneasiness in the building.

That was quickly over when Buffalo’s two biggest names would open the fourth quarter scoring. John Tavares and Mark Steenhuis would score one minute and then two minutes in and the Bandits had a 9-7 lead. Almost six minutes in though, Gary Bining, would take yet another pass from Daryl Veltman while sitting just off the crease and bury the ball into a partially open net. As aggressive as Buffalo was in their own end tonight, Boston was continuously able to find the open man sitting off the crease.

Mark Steenhuis would open up the two goal lead again on a screen shot from the right shooter spot that seemed to handcuff Cosmo. From there, Boston could not score again and Tom Montour would add an empty net goal to make the final 11-8.

Make no mistake, this was an all out war tonight. This game was physical and both teams played lights out lacrosse for 60 minutes. I wondered coming into this game, if Buffalo would try to match Boston’s speed and aggressiveness. I was also a little concerned for Buffalo if they did try to do that. But that is why they are the defending Champions. Buffalo showed tonight that they can play a run and gun style of game if needed.

At the same time, Boston proved that they can play with the best, and they are an expansion team in name only. This is a highly skilled young group and Coach Tom Ryan and all of Boston has to be excited about the future of this Blazer team.

Other Game Notes:
– Boston dominated the face-off cirlce going 17-22
– Boston was 4-5 on the PP, Buffalo was 1-2
– Boston also oustshot Buffalo 47-46
– although Steenhuis got 4 on the night, player of the game easily for the Bandits was Kenny Montour.
– the Bandits will now go on the Road to play in New York next week. It will be a new challenge for them this year though as they will now have to win a huge game on the road, and possibly two of them to win again in 2009.


1 Comment

  1. Great job Marksy

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