GURT'S BLOG: THE NUMBERS GAME
Blogs | 2/12/2013 2:25:14 PM | John Gurtler

As the late, great Vince Lombardi would say when his Packers lost: “statistics are for losers.” I do think, however, you’ve got to accentuate the positive when you’re looking to recover from a bad loss. And statistics of the game will show areas of strength and areas where work is needed.

A perfect example is the Bandits 15-7 loss to Rochester on Saturday.

While the game got off to a strange start with Chad Culp taking a high cross check from behind, and then Rochester wheeling to the other end to score, there was no flow to the floor for the Bandits. Rochester, with enthusiasm and talent, appeared to be riding a wave from the previous day’s 20-10 win over Philadelphia.

Scoring evenly through the first quarter to take a 3-0 lead, the Knighthawks seemed to hold suppression over the Bandits. Twice after the Bandits scored in the second quarter, Rochester came back 28 seconds later and scored, dousing any attempt to start a run. A bit strange wouldn’t you say to hit the 28 second mark twice in a row? In addition, Knighthawks netminder Matt Vinc was invincible, stopping 19 of 21 Bandits shots.

Oh, and it only took 24 seconds for the Knighthawks to score after Buffalo’s Aaron Wilson found net in the fourth quarter.

From here on, it’s a numbers game.

Let’s face it: Saturday night’s game was one not to dwell on the negative aspect, rather learn from the mistakes and go forward to the next game.

The good part about this is, the Bandits get another shot at the Knighthawks this Saturday night.

Transition player David Brock, who scored twice Saturday, takes some positive out of the loss. “We’re going to see those guys again,” said Brock, who has six goals on the season. “I think one thing we learned is we can beat those guys, and if we play Bandit ball and play lacrosse the way Darris (Kilgour) is teaching us how to play lacrosse, we can go in there and win.”

Brock, in his third year, brings a common element that makes up Banditball. “I think that I bring size, some physicality and gritty play,” said Brock. He does have the ability to play defense and to move the ball up the floor.

“Darris has given me the opportunity to run the floor and shoot the ball, which is really nice because the last couple of years (while in Philadelphia), we pulled the ball out to get our offensive guys on the floor.

“This year Darris has given me the green light to let the ball fly back and forth in patterns, passing and stickhandling along the way, finishing up with shots on the goaltenders.”

While it looked like the Bandits had some zip at the start of the second half, running out to start the game immediately, taking their 17-minute break down to the second, with goaltender Anthony Cosmo back in net. But while working on a power play just 12 seconds into the third quarter, the flow quickly stopped when Brock was whistled for a high sticking major. The Hawks then netted two man-up goals.

There was no ebb-and-flow to the game for the Bandits – even when the strange delayed penalty was stopped with the Bandits holding possession in the Hawks zone and 11 seconds left on the shot clock. And then there was no call.

While I panned the Bandits bench in the third quarter, I noticed that goaltender Kurtis Wagar was not there. Thinking maybe he was in the tunnel, I passed on the speculation something might have happened to him during the 10 minutes he played in relief of Cosmo in the second quarter.

Having a strong bunch of Bandit players can help take the sting away from a bad loss, like last Saturday night. “In the lacrosse community, we’re all pretty similar and we all get along very well,” said Brock.

“The transition to Buffalo was very easy with vets like John Tavares, Shawn Williams, Tracy Kelusky and Matt Giles – those guys welcomed me personally with open arms. The atmosphere in the dressing room is great; we treat each other like we are best friends and family. It’s something that’s going to grow and get even tighter as the season goes on.”

Statistically, the Bandits had some numbers that prove they can right the ship. From the loose ball category, the roster was evenly matched throughout scooping up 62. Jay Thorimbert had a strong game, winning 69 percent of his draws, a season best. And the shots, 61 total, saw Aaron Wilson and Luke Wiles fire 12 and 11 respectively.

But the Knighthawks played a very strong game throughout.

Okay, Coach Lombardi’s statement on stats holds true. And the Bandits will get another chance to turn those numbers positive with a rematch this Saturday night in Rochester.

Radio broadcast coverage this week will move to WGR Sports Radio 550, with the pre-game show starting at 7 p.m. from the Blue Cross Arena.

VS.  Rochester Knighthawks
TV: The Lacrosse Network | RADIO: ESPN 1520/WGWE 105.9 FM
 April 26, 2014 - 07:30 PM 1 2 3 4 F
 Rochester Knighthawks 0 0 0 0 0
 Buffalo Bandits 0 0 0 0 0