Thompson Brilliant as Bandits Sweep Weekend
blog by BuffaloDotCom • March 06, 2011 @ 7:57pm
It sure looked like Mike Thompson got his pre-game nap in today, because he had to be alert the entire afternoon. The Bandits’ goalie, gassed after an 11-8 win at home over Rochester last night, stood on his head as Buffalo completed the weekend sweep with a 9-8 victory over Boston.
The netminder, sturdy but unspectacular against Rochester, single-handedly kept Boston at bay in the fourth quarter, stifling breakaway attempts from Jon Durno, Josh Sanderson, and Dan Dawson in the game’s final 1:38 to preserve the victory.
“I’ll take a little nap tonight, catch the 5 AM bus, and then take a little nap after that,” Thompson said with a laugh after the Rochester contest. After the confident performance on Saturday, Bandit head coach Darris Kilgour made the smart decision to keep his #1 between the pipes.
Battling back from an 8-4 deficit entering the fourth, the Blazers rode the stick of Dan Dawson to tie the game at 8 with 9:01 left. The big #6’s three goals in the period’s first six minutes had an exhausted Buffalo squad on its heels, but the eventual game-winner came both against the run of play and from an unexpected source.
On a transition break with exactly four minutes to play, veteran defenseman Scott Self found a breaking Clay Hill - who had a step on his defender - in front of goal, and the stay-at-home defenseman notched his first goal since 2009 with a blast into the upper-right corner. Despite a flurry of chances with Cosmo pulled, Boston couldn’t solve Thompson. The Bandits (6-3) move into second place in the Eastern Conference.
The Bandits were beneficiaries of two sloppy plays by the Blazers late in the first half, which, in a one goal victory, proved crucial. Goalie Anthony Cosmo, perhaps disrupted by an equipment issue, jumped from his net to challenge a long pass to Tracey Kelusky; the Blazer goalie misjudged the ball, and it sailed over his head into the gaping net. Tom Montour was credited with the goal, but Cosmo should never have left his net unattended.
90 seconds later, Mike Kirk shockingly put one in his own net. Mark Steenhuis barreled down the left side but shot wide - the rebound caromed long off the back boards, hit Kirk’s stick as he reached up to cradle it, and fell in behind a confused Cosmo for a 6-3 Bandit advantage.
Buffalo won the third quarter 2-1, keyed by John Tavares’ buzzer-beater after a terrific extra pass by Kelusky. Dawson finished with five goals and 2 assists, but Buffalo’s defensive corps locked down Casey Powell - the NLL’s second leading scorer - holding him to only three assists.
The Bandits return to HSBC Arena next Saturday night for a rematch against Dawson and the Blazers at 7:30 PM.