Tavares’ Third In OT Hands Rock 4th Consecutive Loss

Friday night, March 12 a couple of old friends hooked up at the Air Canada Centre when the Toronto Rock and Buffalo Bandits met. And it was definitely a game of momentum swings.

The Bandits stormed out of the gate in the first quarter. After spotting the Rock the opening goal, a Kasey Beirnes marker, the Bandits went on to score the remaining four goals of the first quarter and a fifth to start the second quarter. Steenhuis, Dostie, Montour, Accursi, and Dostie again built a 5-1 lead for the visitors. Goal number five chased Toronto starting goalie Steve Dietrich who was replaced by Bob Watson.

This move sparked the Rock as they went on a scoring run of their own, netting four in a row. Leblanc, Hominuck, Manning, and Beirnes would tie the game at 5-5. Mark Steenhuis and Tom Montour would score two more for Buffalo, but after a timeout with under 30 second left in the quarter, Kasey Beirnes found himself all alone in front of Mike Thompson and a loose ball after a Rock shot. Beirnes deposited the ball over a falling Thompson to close the score to 7-6 Buffalo at half time.

In the third quarter Colin Doyle would bring Toronto to within one goal just over a minute in. But John Tavares would score twice to open up a two goal lead once again for Buffalo. Before the end of the quarter, Garrett Billings would score on the Power Play to end make it 9-8 after three, the Bandits still holding the lead.

Early into the final frame, Toronto’s Josh Wasson would tie the game on a sweet pass from Mike Hominuck. But Kevin Dostie would score his third of the game with just under six minutes left. That is the way it would stay until Garrett Billings would scoop up a loose ball and fake Thompson once before putting the ball to the top left corner of the net. All of this occurred with two second on the clock. The score after 4 quarters was 10-10. Queue Overtime.

It took John Tavares 25 seconds into Overtime to end the game and send the home crowd home disappointed. Tavares took a cross floor pass from Mark Steenhuis and put in in the net before Bob Watson could get across the net.

The Bandits, who came into the game at three wins and six losses, certainly did not play like a 3-6 team. John Tavares who has dealt with injuries this season, Kevin Dostie, and Mark Steenhuis all looked like they did in the Championship run of a couple years ago. Early in the game the Bandits handled the Toronto aggressive defense very well. The Bandits patiently waited for the Toronto defensive double team and then dished the ball off to the open shooter and it worked well.

To their credit the Rock quickly adapted their defensive scheme and moved away from the double team. The home crowd certainly was into the game on this night and the Rock players fed off the atmosphere in the ACC.

Other Game Notes:

– Toronto was 2-4 on the PP, Buffalo was 2-3
– Thompson was stellar in net for Buffalo and was easily the star of the game, stopping 52 of 62 shots. Bob Watson stopped 21 of 27 while starter Steve Dietrich stopped 10 15 shots.
– goal of the night was Kevin Dostie in the fourth. Dostie took a pass from Steenhuis while cutting across in front of the Toronto crease. While falling to the crease and with a defender draped all over him, Dostie found the back of the net.

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