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Bandits vs. Stealth live-blog

Photo by Dave Marino from opener vs. Rock.

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

——————-End of Game, 11-10 Washington——————

13:55—Mike Grimes steals it right back for Washington, and Rhys Duch scoots down the left side for the game-winner. The Stealth forward beat Billy Dee Smith and Ian Llord down the left side and bounced a shot under Thompson. Duch is the thorn in Buffalo’s side, and Darris Kilgour’s club leaves with its third straight loss.

14:55—Intense face-off battle between Jeremy Thompson and Bob Snider leads to a Thompson win! Buffalo has the first chance to win it. Steenhuis is checked by Moleski—hounded, actually—and he bounces a shot wide. Bandits ball, it’s deemed.

15:00—Buffalo hasn’t led since 2-1, but the Bandits have scored several timely goals to keep this contest close. Mike Thompson was much sharper in the second half, with his punch of a Rhys Duch blast with under 30 seconds left his biggest stop of the game. OT, let’s go!

————————-End of Regulation, 10-10 tie————————-

:40—Game still tied in the final minute. Fantastic save by Mike Thompson, who leaned to his left to crush the hopes of Rhys Duch. Twenty seconds left, Bandit ball. Luke Wiles tries to wriggle through the Stealth defense, but he’s punished by Hodgson, and all Buffalo can muster is a low-percentage chance by Chad Culp on the left side. The ball deflected over the top of Richards’ cage, and we’re headed to OT.

1:18—Thompson stuffs a feeble shot from Rabil. Steenhuis, Wiles, Tavares, Giles and Culp on the floor for Buffalo, and there’s an errant pass and a turnover.

2:22—Great work defensively by Billy Dee Smith and Ian Llord, who hounded Brett Bucktooth and won the loose ball. Chris White was also in there. Buchanan’s bouncer from just inside the restraining line clanks off the post. So close.

3:00—It’s tense right now in the First Niagara Center, even though the blaring of “Cotton-Eyed Joe” would suggest otherwise. Ratcliff will restart.

3:46 —Steenhuis just punished the Stealth’s Chris O’Daugherty behind the play, sitting on top of him and throwing punches. After a long rebound, Steenhuis gathered himself and chased after the loose ball—he couldn’t quite finish at the net, however, as a recovering defender checked him just as he closed in on Richards. Tied at 10 with under three minutes remaining. Over-and-back on Buffalo returns the ball to the Stealth.

4:37—Giles slips a screen and walks in alone, but a smart poke-check from a Washington defender thwarts the chance.

5:55—An abundance of missed calls by the refs after Tavares was accosted in the neutral zone. Matt Beers, a Washington defender, is slumped on the turf, and he’s clutching his right wrist. Leaving his stick and his gloves on the carpet, Beers races to the locker room. A break down sound realistic. Deafening chants of “Let’s Go Bandits” rise from the Buffalo crowd, and oddly, an injury seems to have fired them up.

7:18—After Billy Dee Smith checked both Paul Rabil and his teammate Ian Llord to the ground, Buffalo burst forward on offense, and Mark Steenhuis laced a shot over the head of Curtis Hodgson and under Richards. Chris White on the assist, and it’s 10-10. And Buffalo finally wins a second half face-off!

8:32—Stick-check by Tommy Montour saves a goal—well executed fast break by Jeff Moleski, who found a teammate careening in alone on goal.

9:10 —14,577 in attendance tonight at the First Niagara Center.

9:12—Terrific point blank save by Richards on Mark Steenhuis, who was alone in front of the Washington cage. Still 10-9 Washington. Shots are 44-40 in favor of the Stealth.

10:03 —Big loose ball pickup by Roger Vyse after Richards kicked away a Steenhuis shot. A quick transition chance for Washington is nullified by Billy Dee Smith, who bore down on a terrified Mike Grimes, forcing a give-away.

11:14—Chad Culp is furious for some reason after he’s denied by Tyler Richards down low. No fortuitous bounces for the hard-working Buffalo forward tonight.

12:37—Inexplicably, Dean Hill tries to beat Mike Thompson low to the near post. Easy save. Kevin Buchanan bulls his way diagonally across the center of the Washington D, only to bounce his shot wide of the left post. Still scoreless on the evening is the Bandits’ marquee off-season addition from Boston. Bucktooth whistles a shot toward net—Thompson gets a mitt on it before it clangs off the post.

13:41—After another Bob Snider face-off win, Rhys Duch fires a shot from the restraining line that flat-out beats Mike Thompson. On two occasions in the second half, the Stealth have responded almost immediately after Buffalo tied the game.

13:50—A perfect start to the fourth quarter for Buffalo, as Luke Wiles collects a pass with 10 on the shot clock, lowers his shoulder and charges to the net before stuffing one past Tyler Richards. That’s Wiles’ fourth of the contest, and the game is tied at 9.

————————-End of Third Quarter, 9-8 Washington————————

:24—Mark Steenhuis grabs a loose ball in front of Chris McElroy, and then he’s mauled as he turns the corner on the Stealth defender. No call from the zebras, and the crowd is becoming increasingly restless with what it deems to be missed penalties.

1:38 —Buffalo quickly loses the ensuing face-off to Bob Snider, and Brett Bucktooth catches a pass along the perimeter, and in one motion sends a screamer under Thompson’s pads. 9-8 Washington.

2:11—Terrific screen down low by Kelusky allows Mat Giles to walk in alone on Richards, and Giles dips one under Richards’ left arm to knot the game at 8! The crowd is suddenly alive.

3:00—Save on Kyle Sweeney’s breakaway by Tyler Richards, who continues his sharp play. Buffalo’s transition player was unable to pick out a corner, and Richards simply stood his ground.

3:00—Montour slings a behind-the-back shot that Richards slaps aside. Buffalo has outscored Washington 2-1 in the third quarter, as both goalies have been much tougher in this period.

4:13—Curtis Hodgson, a Washington defender, is slow to challenge John Tavares on the perimeter, and the Bandits’ point man rips a shot into the upper left corner. 8-7 Washington after Tavares’ power play goal. Kevin Buchanan with the assist.

5:18—Wiles shows another good hesitation and shot-fake, but Richards reaches to his left to make a tough stop. Under a minute remaining in the Bucktooth penalty. Rabil launches a short-handed shot into Thompson’s chest with two on the shot clock.

6:20—Missed chances by Duch and Ratcliff in succession, as Mikey was up to the test for both. Brett Bucktooth trips Scott Self in the corner trying to fore-check, and the former Bandit jogs to the bench. A must-score power play for Buffalo here.

8:03—Penalty on Mark Steenhuis, two minutes for holding. He complains all the way to the bench—good chances for Ratcliff and Hickey, I believe (the press box is rather high up), and then Buchanan whips one that’s saved by Richards. One minute left on the Steenhuis penalty.

9:24—Stealth lead in shots 30-26. Jeff Moleski has been hitting everyone in sight for Washington. Rabil with a bad turnover to Steve Priolo, who feeds Kyle Sweeney up the floor. Even though Sweeney cannot finish, both Priolo and Sweeney fore-check well to force an eight second violation.

9:58—Nice loose ball pickup by Kelusky keeps possession with Buffalo. Sedgwick and Vyse trade chances, and both have poor shooting angles on their darts across the top of the crease. Still 8-6 Washington.

11:05—Duch is caught with a crease violation after he ducked under two defenders and hummed a shot over the top. Great reaction save by Richards on Tavares’ finesse shot, then Wiles’ charge through the middle. Two key stops.

12:23 —Costly turnover by Rhys Duch leads to a fast-break by Billy Dee Smith, who gives and goes with Luke Wiles to tuck inside Richards’ post. Much needed goal for Buffalo brings it closer—8-6 Washington.

14:19—Giles flings a long pass toward Tavares, and it’s not even close. Turnover. Duch is clubbed by Billy Dee Smith. Cornwall blocks a Hickey shot with his head, but Washington keeps the ball after the deflection. Quick stick at the near post results in a goal by Lewis Ratcliff, good for a hat-trick. Cam Sedgwick is credited with the first assist, a pretty pass to Ratcliff positioned just in front of the crease. 8-5 Washington.

15:00—Teams back on the floor for the second half. Bob Snider ruins Jeremy Thompson cleanly on the face-off. Snider’s impeccable on the draw.

Halftime—I’ll be back after three or five ice cream sandwiches. They’re Perry’s, too! Only thing better than buying local is eating free local.

———————Halftime, 7-5 Washington————————-

:00—Buffalo fails to get a shot on goal on the final opportunity of the half, but at least the Bandits didn’t give up one.

:17—Good save by Thompson, who covered his crease quickly after Rabil hooked up with Ratcliff from behind-the-net. It’s pretty clear to me why Rabil is one of the NLL’s best transition players—he’s electric offensively and a willing defender. Timeout, Buffalo to hold for the final possession. Let’s hope Buffalo doesn’t concede another last second, length-of-the-floor empty net goal like it did against Minnesota.

1:43—Sound save by Thompson on Ratcliff twice on the same possession—both were to the near post. Mat Giles, just out of the penalty box, streaks down the left wing before coolly slotting a shot inside Richards’ left post. 7-5 Washington. Great long-distance pass by Tommy Montour.

3:03—Tom Montour anticipates a Stealth pass well and knocks it to Billy Dee Smith, who scoops the loose ball and wastes an entire shot clock. Washington fails to convert again, and there’s under 45 seconds left in Giles’ penalty.

4:11—Scott Shelf blocks a cross-crease pass with his face-mask, and Buffalo patiently moves down the floor as the killing of Giles’ five minute penalty continues.

5:36—Tremendous off-the-ball cut by Duch and a solid find from Ratcliff on the opposite wing results in a jarred crossbar and a crease violation. Steenhuis is bothered well by Jeff Moleski on the left wing, and Kevin Buchanan unleashes a shot from deep that deflects out of play. Bandits keep possession.

6:26 —It takes a solid minute for Kyle Sorensen to get off the ground, but he walks off under his own power as the boos continue. Paul Rabil shakes a slow Steve Priolo before diving across the crease and beating Mike Thompson soundly. Ratliff and Duch with the assists. 7-4 Stealth.

7:12—As the B-O-X, B-O-X, BOX, BOX, BOX erupts from the Bandits’ faithful, Chris McElroy trudges to the penalty box. Turnover by Mat Giles, who then nearly kills a Stealth player with a horrible high cross-check. This one should be five minutes or more, as the Stealth player is out cold.

8:23—Buffalo wastes clock—more good work by Chris White in the corner. Cam Sedgwick scores a soft one on the power play, snapping a shot from the side to beat Thompson low to the right. Duch and Bucktooth collect the assists, and it’s 6-4 Washington. Costly penalty on Priolo, for sure.

9:13—Ratcliff set to kick off the power play. A steal by Tommy Montour from Rhys Duch, and Duch plows him to the turf—no penalty called, surprisingly. The referee had turned to run and looked away from the play in the process. Discouraging.

9:32 —Bad turnover on a fine scoring opportunity by Jeremy Thompson, who sailed his touch-pass over the head of his target. Mikey sits on Bucktooth’s shot. Roughing penalty on Steve Priolo of the Bandits, which kills Buffalo’s momentum.

10:15—Luke Wiles is on fire! The only Bandit showing any signs of life tonight on offense records a hat-trick with a bouncer that ruined Richards’ rhythm. 5-4 Stealth now after Wiles’ absurd scoring prowess keeps the team alive.

11:06 —Chris White with an acrobatic interception after Washington’s restart. Errant pass by Kelusky bounces to the corner where Tavares runs it down. A quick shot troubles Richards, who is forced to bat it behind his own net.

12:04—Another case of too many extra passes by Buffalo, as Steenhuis fed Tavares on the weakside, and instead of shooting, Tavares tried to feed the floppy-haired #9 in the middle—Mark couldn’t bring in the pass: opportunity wasted.

12:40—Brett Bucktooth notches a goal against his former club after Rhys Duch pinged the crossbar—Mikey Thompson lost sight of the rebound, and the former Bandit was perched on the opposite door-step to tuck in from a bad angle. Bucktooth is booed loudly and is seen smiling from the bench. 5-3 Washington.

13:54—Cam Sedgwick hums a shot from between the white dots on the perimeter that caroms off Thompson’s pads and nearly goes in. Kevin Buchanan executes a nice hesitation move on his rush at the other end, but he continues to have no luck this season.

14:52 —Scott Self takes the draw for Buffalo and promptly loses it. Rhys Duch capitalizes on his chance, shooting over the head of Ian Llord and splitting the wickets of Mike Thompson. Duch and Ratcliff each have two goals in Washington’s 4-3 lead. That’s another PPG for the Stealth.

15:00—Each team took 12 shots on goal in the first quarter, and it’s time for the first Bandettes routine. They’re wearing those weird spidery tops, though. Is this Halloween?

————————-End of First Quarter, 3-3 tie—————————

1:18—Duch is pummeled to the turf by three Bandit defenders. Billy Dee Smith picks up a penalty, however, after he was fooled by a Bucktooth shot-fake. Two minutes for an illegal cross-check on Billy Dee. Power play for Washington. Terrific block by Scott Self on Brett Hickey’s snapper from the right dot.

1:41—The former Stealth All-Star Wiles has two goals already in the first stanza, and he either knows the Washington defensive system like the back of his hand, or he’s especially motivated tonight.

1:56—With the shot clock down to one, Duch fires one over the net. A terrific kill thus far for Washington. Luke Wiles doesn’t want anything to do with a terrific kill, however, as he patiently maneuvers through defenders before burying a shot low to Richards’ left. 3-3 tie!

3:11—Bandits’ head coach Darris Kilgour is beside himself after Buffalo concedes another short-handed goal, this one by Lewis Ratcliff. A pinpoint long pass from Richards caught Ratcliff with separation from his defender, and the marquee playoff performer beat Thompson high for a 3-2 lead.

3:52—Giles’ caginess earns Buffalo a power play, as Washington’s Matt Beers finally lost his cool with the obnoxious stick checks and is called for a two minute penalty—apparently for tripping, but I didn’t see a trip. Mat Giles tries to beat Richards to the lower right again, and Richards is up to the task.

4:03 —Mat Giles is stirring up all sorts of trouble before play even starts, and there are several mini shoving matches going on. Can’t imagine there’s this much bad blood between two teams on opposite coasts that rarely face each other.

4:51—A shot from a poor angle by Lewis Ratcliff bounces passed a surprised Mike Thompson, tying the game at 2. Ratcliff’s fourth of the season is assisted by Brett Hickey and Rhys Duch. The Bandits’ Chris White had forced a low percentage shot, but Thompson was either screened or too slow to react.

6:10—Brett Hickey, a Washington forward, meets the wrath of Billy Dee Smith in the left corner. Stealth’s Kyle Hartzell slings one wide of the target, and then a crafty stick-check by Paul Rabil dispossesses Buchanan on a prime scoring opportunity. Steenhuis slips free for a second, only to drop a pass and stumble to the turf.

7:23—Buffalo takes a 2-1 lead after John Tavares sneaked out in transition and ripped a shot over Richards’ right shoulder. Exceptional outlet pass by Mat Giles, who found a “streaking” Tavares in a two-on-one situation with Steenhuis. Instead of passing, Tavares whistled a shot past Richards with no problem.

8:44—A Washington shot from distance nearly trickles past Thompson, and at the other end, Roger Vyse’s blast caroms off Tyler Richards’ knees. Mix of Jay-Z and Linkin Park on the sound system as Kevin Buchanan careens through traffic and snaps a shot to Richards’ near post, but the keeper shuffles over in time.

9:17—The Stealth offense looks incredibly one dimensional early, as isolation plays for Duch are the team’s calling card. It’ll be interesting to see if Washington can get Lewis Ratcliff and Paul Rabil more involved in the attack.

10:21—Buffalo’s Kevin Buchanan bypasses a chance to try to find an unmarked Roger Vyse, but the fellow Bandit forward can’t corral the pass. Rhys Duch explodes down the floor and rifles a shot over Steve Priolo’s head to tie the game at 1. An absolute rocket from the Stealth star. 1-1 tie.

11:45 —Kelusky tries his patented behind-the-back shot that’s had little luck in Buffalo, but it’s wide of the left post. Fantastic shoulder pad save by Mike Thompson on Rhys Duch, who’d slithered through the heart of the Buffalo D.

12:32—Billy Dee Smith plants Washington forward Rhys Duch after the Bandits’ big #3 arrives late on help defense. Buffalo’s Roger Vyse heaves a missile toward goal, but he can’t convert. 

13:20 —Luke Wiles puts the Bandits on the board right off the bat! His power play goal came after a sharp shot fake, a duck under the arm of a defender and a well-placed shot inside the right post. 1-0 Buffalo!

14:22 —Early too many men penalty on Washington will be served by Kyle Hartzell. Jeremy Thompson and Chad Culp had consecutive good scoring chances for Buffalo. Tyler Richards stood tall between the pipes for the Stealth.

Pre-game—Kevin Kennedy just performed “O Canada” and the National Anthem, and we’re ready for the first draw. There are ice cream sandwiches in the press box. Get some.

Pre-game—Tonight’s game is particularly meaningful for a few players: Brett Bucktooth, cast off by the Buffalo Bandits are pre-season cuts, returns to the First Niagara Center as a member of the Stealth. For Buffalo forward Luke Wiles, he has an opportunity to face his former team.

Pre-game—We’re 10 minutes away from the first draw of the Buffalo Bandits’ (2-2) contest against the Washington Stealth (0-3). Buffalo comes off two losses last weekend to Philadelphia and Minnesota, with a brawl and several ejections headlining the latter. Scratches for tonight are Brandon Francis, Jimmy Purves and Frank Resetarits, while Nenad Gajic, Chet Koneczny and Cliff Smith are inactive for Washington.

TAGGED: buffalo bandits, john tavares, lacrosse, mark steenhuis, nll, rhys duch, washington stealth

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