Blogs | 3/7/2012 10:43:49 AM | John Gurtler
|Tracey Kelusky (Photo: Bill Wippert)|
There’s something happening around here. What it is ain’t exactly clear.
The Bandits now find themselves in an area unknown to all in this territory: a real losing streak.
There is a stronger posse out there with command of the game. Nobody said the 2012 season was going to be a breeze. Every quarter, shift, shot and break counts. And the team hasn’t quite hit that stride.
There were good moments for the Bandits in their 16-13 loss to the league-leading Colorado Mammoth last Saturday night. The goals, the leads, the spurts of togetherness. You could see the team was trying to jumpstart itself in the fourth quarter. But those quick goals by the opponents can really turn that floor into sand when a team is trying to get out from underneath the weight of a losing streak.
It didn’t help that Billy Dee Smith was held out of the game due to team rules. And Tommy Montour, the leader of forced take-away and loose balls, was a Saturday night scratch. It just doesn’t seem right this team has lost five straight. That is the reality in today’s NLL game. You’ve gotta be ready. But depth chart deep, there is a lot of character on this year’s Bandits team. And count off in twos - there is plenty of time to get this thing turned around.
“To be the best, you gotta beat the best,” said GM and head coach Darris Kilgour.
The team appeared ready to play and they gave Colorado a good game. John Grant and his team were a little angry coming off a bad loss to Calgary the weekend before. The league’s leading scorer seemed to have all his moves working perfectly and he displayed a few of them, which lived up to his sure-shot billing. He received some good help as well. It was also cool to see him score his 500th career NLL goal.
The good part out of all of this? The next game is in sight, Saturday afternoon in Rochester – the place where the Bandits last won. Traditionally a tough place for the black and orange, but that is the farthest thing in their minds.
Rochester has been playing well too, coming off a big victory in Philadelphia. They will have a ton of confidence coming onto home turf against the Bandits. But I say bring it on. The Bandits need to face a team that has been playing well.
The Knighthawks are getting some good action from second year pro Cody Jamieson with 22 goals and 28 assists, matching well with veteran Mike Accursi (17-25-42) and Jordan Hall (6-22-28). Hall, already a transition player of the week, is a strong playmaker who allows rookies Stephen Keogh and Johnny Powless time and space to convert on scoring chances.
More compliment of Knighthawk players make a strong attack in Cory Vitarelli and Craig Point, who is back in the line-up and already has 12 points in three games played. Pat McCready, now in his 17th season, always plays a strong game. Goaltender Matt Vinc leads the league in saves with 329, and seems to thrive on taking as many shots early in the game in effort to stay focused.
Where does this leave the Bandits? For players like John Tavares and Luke Wiles, who combined for 10 points and 24 shots Saturday night, a win would certainly be good.
It’s about time something happens around here.
The pre-game show Saturday from Rochester on KB 1520 will start at 12:30 p.m., with the game scheduled for a 1:05 p.m. start.