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Live Blog: Bandits - Blazers

Bandits celebrate in an early game vs. Boston this year - Dave Marino photo

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

Pre-game:  With a win tonight, the Buffalo Bandits will clinch the NLL East Division title—Buffalo stands at 10-4 overall, leading the second place Rock by a half game.  The Bandits hold the tiebreaker over Troy Cordingley’s squad, however, as they won the season series 2-1.

Pre-game:
  Boston’s second leading scorer—regular NLL All-Star Casey Powell—will miss tonight’s game; this is a huge break for Buffalo, as the defense can smother and extend against Dan Dawson on the perimeter.  Josh Sanderson, Kevin Buchanan and Nick Cotter are capable scorers too, but nowhere near Powell’s elite ability.

Pre-game:  To make matters worse for the Blazers, Brett Queener, a key transition player for the visitors, was helped off the field with an ankle injury during warmups. 

Pre-game:  When it rains, it pours, Boston.  Scratches for the Bandits tonight: Travis Irving, Kyle Clancy and Ben McCullough.  Roger Vyse returns to the lineup after suffering a rib injury against Minnesota on March 27th.

Pre-game
:  If Buffalo can storm past Boston tonight and down Rochester next Saturday, the Bandits will have clinched home field advantage for as far as they advance into the playoffs.  With a strong postseason run, nostalgic Bandits fans from ‘08 could see another NLL Championship on the HSBC Arena carpet. 

Pre-game: Red-hot Mike Thompson starts between the pipes again for Buffalo—he’s the frontrunner for NLL Defensive Player of the Year honors after collecting another Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts on the road against Toronto and Rochester.

Pre-game:  Assistant head coach Rich Kilgour, brother of head coach Darris, will have his number retired shortly in a special pre-game ceremony.  Kilgour played his entire 18 year career in Buffalo, helping Buffalo to four NLL titles and eight division championships.

Pre-game:  One reasonable explanation for Powell’s absence from the lineup—Boston can’t improve its standing with a win in their final regular season game tonight, so the visitors may as well rest one of their dynamic players.

Pre-game:  Some vigorous arm flapping by Boston goalie Anthony Cosmo during the national anthem—very distracting.  Maybe anthem singer Tara Minogue makes him nervous. 

Pre-game:  Bandits’ starters have been announced, and now the boos rain down on the unfortunate Boston Blazers, who’ve locked up the 4th seed in the East.  Let the Kilgour ceremony commence!  Graduation-style music being played over the sound system.

Pre-game
:  John Tavares gets a shout-out from Rich—the two were teammates for all 18 years of Kilgour’s career.  Rich led off with a “it’s about time we had a home game on the 16th (of April and also his jersey #) so I didn’t have to wait much longer” joked that drew a hearty chuckle from the crowd.

Pre-game: Kilgour receives a jersey plaque that’s at least four feet tall by three feet wide.  The jersey is about to be raised to the ceiling!  Banditland on its collective feet as the “#16 Rich Kilgour” slowly rises.

15:00— We’re ready for face-off; Blazers in white jerseys and white shorts with red trim and numbers.  Buffalo in orange and black diagonal stripes and black shorts.  Brandon Francis wins the draw.

14:49 -- Thenhaus’ goal 11 seconds into the game is waved off—he was guilty of a shove as he maneuvered past his defender.  Dawson’s first chance is shrugged away by Thompson.

13:38
Jamie Rooney slices down the middle of the Buffalo defense, corrals a pass from Josh Sanderson and snaps a bouncer past Thompson.  1-0 Boston.

12:57—Dawson slings in a shot that’s kicked aside.  Loose ball grabbed by Tommy Montour.  Poor angle shot by Thenhaus is snuffed out by Cosmo.  Darryl Gibson steps in to block a shot by Sanderson.  Dawson sneaks past Thorimbert and dishes to Sanderson, but Josh’s toe is in the crease.

11:18—Steenhuis fires on net late in the shot clock, but it’s easily kicked out. 

11:07—Unreal behind the back pass from Bucktooth sends Thenhaus in alone on Cosmo, and the Boston keeper is helpless on the orange mohawk’s point blank shot.  Pretty goal. 1-1 tie.

10:40
—27 seconds later, Boston is back in front on a side-winder from Nick Cotter.  Dawson drew attention from the Bandit defense, and Cotter slung a shot through traffic that whistled by Thompson.  2-1 Boston.

9:52—Self, wide open at the back post, can’t place his shot inside the far post; good reaction by Cosmo. 

9:52 -- The Flyers have edged the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 to even the series at one game apiece.  Buffalo will return to HSBC Arena for Game 3 on Monday night.

9:33 —Kyle Rubisch nearly coughs up a loose ball in front of his own net, but he alertly scoops it into the corner and chases it down.  Sprawling save by Thompson on Cotter bails out the lackluster Buffalo D again.

8:42
—Shot clock violation on Boston.  Culp sails past a flat-footed Rubisch, but Cosmo lifts his shoulders in time to knock #20’s shot over the crossbar.  Buffalo retains possession. 

7:43—Excellent pass inside to Brandon Francis knots the game at 2—Bucktooth provides the helper again,  Francis jumps jubilantly into the end glass, and I swear the entire arena shook for five seconds.  He’s not a small fellow.

5:50 —Ian Llord comes across to crush Kevin Buchanan, planting the Boston forward into the carpet (and probably leaving a nasty rug-burn.)

4:45 —Thompson stops Buchanan from distance, and then Cotter bounces the rebound attempt wide.  Vyse’s errant pass is intercepted by Rubisch, however.

3:45—Boston shoots back in front again, 3-2, after Kevin Buchanan had acres of space to pick out a corner and blast a shot—the Bandits doubled Dan Dawson in the left corner, and the Blazers’ star swung the ball to the other side; Rooney kept the ball moving to Buchanan, and the ball beat Mikey cleanly. 

2:57—Rubisch strips Vyse again and coasts in on a breakaway, but Thompson pulls a “Miller” and foils the fastbreak.

1:34—Cosmo slides and rejects Brenden Thenhaus’ break down the left side.  Thompson stopped Josh Wasson-McQuigge at the other end; Buffalo’s Scott Self was hanging all over the Boston attacker.

:24 —Geoff McNulty pings a shot off the crossbar after a pretty wraparound pass from Sanderson.  Rooney has a try with under 10 seconds left, but Thompson is up to the task for that one, too.

—————————End of First Quarter, 3-2 Boston————————

14:30—Dawson feeds Sanderson alone at the far post, but Thompson parries the shot over top of the net.  Buffalo ball.  Another Vyse turnover—he looks rusty in his return from injury.

13:05 —Kelusky is dispossessed in the left wing, then turns and complains to the official—hoping for an illegal check call.  No sir.

12:32
—Ian Llord knocks the ball—and the stick—of Jamie Rooney to the turf then sprints down the loose ball. 

12:10 Roger Vyse pulls Buffalo back even with a pure rocket from the white restraining line.  Thenhaus and Bucktooth on the assists, but that deep shot was unstoppable.  Even Ke$ha thinks so.

11:13—Punishing check by Mitch Belisle grounds Jay Thorimbert, but Ian Llord escapes on a breakaway—he is run down by Mike Kirk, who covered 20 yards remarkably quickly.

10:41—4-3 Boston after Kevin Buchanan lasers in a shot from between the face-off circles—Thompson awkwardly waved at the shot as it buzzed by. 

9:55—Sanderson is unlucky as he clangs the upright, but John Tavares dashes down in the opposite direction and finishes calmly through Cosmo’s legs to tie the game at 4.  Fantastic assist from Tom Montour. 

9:52—Timeout Buffalo—Darris is trying to avoid Boston answering back shortly after Buffalo’s tally; an opponent is incredibly dangerous in the minute following a goal.

8:04 —Tommy Montour’s persistence creates a turnover, but Buffalo quickly gives it back to Boston.  Buchanan and McNulty both fire low and wide of Thompson’s net. 

6:49 —Pretty spin move by Jamie Rooney and the resulting shot beats Thompson, but Rooney’s feet are deemed to have been in the crease—the ref confidently waves off the goal.  Rooney’s contact on Buffalo’s goalie invites a bunch of Bandit defenders over to protect the netminder.  Goal is under review, however, as Matt Sawyer launched the challenge flag. 

6:49 —How does one “move their hips like ‘yeah?’”  That’s what I want to know.  The goal will only stand if the ball crosses the goal line before the offensive player’s foot lands in the crease (it’s not when the shot’s released.)

6:49—After a lengthy review, the ruling on the field stands.  No goal.

5:51—Llord steals the ball from Buchanan again, but Darryl Gibson can’t handle the pass from Llord on the two-on-one break.  Chris White secures a loose ball in the corner.

4:45 —Buchanan’s shot is blocked by Priolo—the Buffalo defenders have done a superb job of deflecting shots with their bodies/sticks this year.  Awkward kiss cam time!

2:49—Darryl Gibson—on a break with Steenhuis—alertly drops the ball back to the orange-shoed superstar, but Mark’s shot is stopped by Cosmo’s pads.

2:24 —Boston jumps back in front again—Dawson fed Kevin Buchanan on the right wing, and the righty picked out the far post—Big Mike waved at it.  5-4 Boston.

1:45—Just 39 seconds later, Josh Sanderson took another pass from Dawson and nipped a shot under Thompson before it bounced into the roof of the net—two goals in succession has Boston up 6-4.

1:26
—The nets are getting tired as the goals continue to fly in.  Buffalo gets this one, trimming the margin to one.  Tracey Kelusky posted up inside, received a pass from Tavares, then whipped an over-the-shoulder shot past a surprised Cosmo.  6-5 Boston.

:46
—Sick solo effort by Dan Dawson; hard to fault Thompson there.  The lanky forward loped by Chris Corbeil and swooped to Thompson’s left before the goalie could react.  7-5 Boston.

————————-Halftime, Boston leads 7-5—————————- 

Halftime—Second half about to start—Kevin Buchanan had a hat-trick in the first half to lead Boston, while Dan Dawson added five assists and a goal of his own.

14:29
—Culp squanders the first quality chance of the second half—Cosmo beat him to the near post.  Good feed from Kelusky to Bucktooth, but Cosmo stands tall again.

12:31
—Rubisch steps quickly to contest Roger Vyse, but the Buffalo forward uses the Boston defender’s aggression to his advantage, rifling a screen shot that Cosmo never saw. 7-6 Boston.

12:16 —Ian Llord receives two minutes in the box for elbowing—certainly untimely after Buffalo just drew within one.  Nifty pass by Dawson isn’t finished off by Rooney.  Tommy Montour, surrounded by three Boston defenders on the penalty kill, slithers free and kills more time. 

11:04
—With 44 seconds left in Llord’s penalty, Jason Duboe heads to the box on a too-many-men call against the Blazers.  Stupid.

10:36 —Steenhuis jukes past two defenders but sees his shot glance off the post.  Mark looks to have scored, but Kelusky is banished for goaltender interference before Steenhuis shot—4 on 3 now.  Now 4 on 4 after Llord returns from the box.

8:58
—Bucktooth attempts a shot between his legs as the shot clock expires—Cosmo didn’t expect it, but it rolled wide.  On the power play, Kevin Buchanan tacks on his fourth of the night on a blistering shot from between the faceoff circles.  8-6 Boston.

8:15Dan Dawson is outstanding.  The 6’4 forward was pushed to the turf—shielded two defenders when he got to his feet, used a swim move to beat a Buffalo defender to the outside, then dropped a shot under Thompson. 9-6 Boston—Dawson hobbles off the field after the goal, however. 

7:46—Dawson sits out the next offensive trip for Boston, and it shows.  Ball movement wasn’t as crisp, and Rooney fired a shot wide.  Thenhaus’ pass to Tavares is errant, however, and Boston comes back.  Still no Dawson. 

6:51—Routine save by Mikey on Geoff McNulty from long-distance. 

5:24—The Blazers add to their lead with Nick Cotter’s second of the evening—nice pass to the cutter by Kevin Buchanan, who’s done it all tonight.  Mike Thompson’s night is over, as Angus Goodleaf jogs on from the bench10-6 Boston.

4:38
—The Buffalo defense isn’t honoring Richie Kilgour’s legacy very well tonight—10 goals allowed to the opponent by late third quarter is pretty unexpected from a usually stingy Bandit backline.

3:57—Goodleaf truly fights the first shot he faces—the ball ricochets off his body and trickles under him—Sanderson claims vehemently that it’s a goal and presses Sawyer to throw the challenge flag; the Boston coach obliges.  No goal is the ruling after the review; still 10-6.

3:41—With the momentum of the review, Buffalo scores quickly to cut the margin to three.  Tracey Kelusky recognized that Brenden Thenhaus had a step on his defender, and a pinpoint pass made it easy for Thenhaus to bury his shot. 10-7 Boston.

3:13
—Chumbawumba in the house.  Not literally. 

1:02
—Vyse heaves a long distance shot on goal at the tail end of the shot clock.  Not a chance.  Good patience by Goodleaf to not commit on Hotaling at the other end—Angus stood his ground and chested the shot away. 

———————————End of Third Quarter, 10-7 Boston——————————

14:37—Boston starts the fourth on a high note—Jamie Rooney took a feed from Geoff McNulty and ripped home a quick stick chance.  Darris, from far away, looks beside himself.  11-7 Blazers.

14:14 Jack Reid picks the pocket of a Bandit and beats Goodleaf low on the fastbreak.  Buffalo is falling apart—12-7 Boston now. 

13:36 Josh Sanderson, standing alone in front of the net, tallies another goal.  Great find by Jamie Rooney, but Jon Harasym was frighteningly late to close.  13-7 Boston, and the floodgates have opened.  Angus looks atrocious coming in cold.

12:37—For the first time all year, the boo-birds are out.  Must be spring!  Bad joke.  Chad Culp is whistled for a penalty; Buffalo will be down a man for the next two.  Goodleaf stops Buchanan and Cotter consecutively. 

11:46JT uses the hidden ball trick again, fooling the entire Boston team—Anthony Cosmo didn’t realize a shot had been taken until he scooped the ball from his cage.  13-8 Boston

9:55—Rooney, who’s been exceptional tonight, nearly adds another, but he’s caught for a crease violation.

9:37
—The Bandits haven’t quit yet—Roger Vyse scores a “look what I found” goal, as Steenhuis’ long shot caromed hard off the back boards and in front of Boston’s net—Vyse was “Roger on the Spot” and snapped a low shot by Cosmo.  Another terrible joke.  13-9 Boston.

9:37—17,318 is the paid attendance tonight—but there sure are a lot of empty seats. 

8:51—Power play opportunity upcoming for Buffalo—Kyle Rubisch retaliated after Steve Priolo flattened a Boston player.  Two minutes for holding is the call against Boston’s best defender. 

7:36—Mike Kirk steps in front of Tavares’ perimeter pass and runs the shot clock down.  JT’s shot doesn’t get through, and then Kelusky is stoned at the back post. 

6:53 -- That’s the back-breaker.  Jamie Rooney scores yet another, leaping high in the air and scoring over the top of Angus—Tom Montour was two steps behind.  Goal is under review.  Looks good from our vantage point. 

6:53 —Rooney’s second of the period and third of the game pushes Boston’s lead back to 5, 14-9

5:48
—Cosmo sprawls and stuffs Vyse’s attempt from 12 feet.  Bucktooth tries to beat Cosmo five-hole, but the ball gets lodged in the keeper’s pads. 

4:09—Phantom penalty on the Bandits’ Mark Steenhuis, who is pretty displeased with the call.  “Roughing” is the call.  Another call—this one on Clay Hill for an illegal crosscheck—two frustration penalties late in this lopsided affair.

1:58—Blazers, with little reason to push, use up the vast majority of the power play shot clocks.  Steenhuis’ 25 foot attempt is right at Cosmo’s stomach.  That sounds painful, but he’s wearing pads.  Just over a minute remains.

1:03 —Kevin Buchanan rubs salt in the wound with a blast from straight on—he has double figures in points tonight and has a very real shot at NLL Offensive Player of the Week honors. 

:15 —Classless fighting by the Bandits here—Brandon Francis and Steve Priolo went over to the Boston bench and started throwing haymakers.  This is turning into a real brawl, as four other Bandits started piling on the punches.  I’m not sure why Buffalo fans are cheering.  This is senseless. 

:15 —Expect a suspension for next week’s game (at least) for Francis.  You don’t instigate with an entire team bench and get away with it unscathed.  It was pretty nuts, though.  We’ll see what Darris has to say in a few minutes.

:15—Francis really released his inner-early-2000s-Ron-Artest right there.  For reasons unbeknownst to me, Nick Rose enters the goal for Boston.  We’ll have this all sorted out post-game.

:15—More strange events occurring—Boston is awarded a penalty shot due to a too-many-men call under two minutes left in the game.  Jason Duroe beats Goodleaf high to the far post to make this score more uneven.  16-9. 

—————————————-End of Game, 16-9 Boston———————————-

TAGGED: boston blazers, buffalo bandits, lacrosse, nll

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