Blogs | 4/7/2009 4:11:35 PM | John Gurtler
A Denver native, John Gurtler has been the voice of the Buffalo Bandits the past six seasons. Gurtler has also done play-by-play with the Rochester Americans and Buffalo Sabres and has served as the stadium voice for the Buffalo Bills. Gurtler will share his thoughts and unique perspective each week with Bandits fans.
Springtime in Boston is a true right and there is nothing wrong for rooting - big time. Be it Celtics, Bruins, Red Sox, Blazers and Marathon, this is a great time of year in Bean Town.
While it's true there is a Dunkin Donuts location on every corner, Boston is never shy about their pubs, which are a plenty within crawl of the venue now called TD Northbank Garden.
Boston fans are loyal and share their sports team opinion openly, regularly and loudly. I had the pleasure of having dinner Friday night at the Sports Illustrated famous sports grille establishment, The Fours, which supports an incredible amount of Bruins (Bobby Orr still photo gallery), Celtics, Patriots, Red Sox, you name it photos, sweaters and artifacts.
In fact on a return visit the next night to watch the tail end of the North Carolina /Villanova game, I discovered more time-sensitive pieces of sports lore including the measuring pole once used at the fabled Boston Garden to make sure the baskets remained even at 10 feet.
Yes, multiple trips required to that Canal Street establishment.
Somehow, I found myself in a congressional conversation about the stately affairs of the Celtics and Bruins. Worthy too, were conversations on the Red Sox and runners preparing for the worlds oldest marathon - and probably one of the greatest outdoor parties, which truly signals the right of spring in Boston.
And soon, there will be more talk of the Blazers. Not really top of mind at the moment, but their play is worth a conversation. And the Globe newspaper seems to file their status to the agate page, leaving nothing but NLL standings and results, boldfacing Boston should there be a game.
And this game has a deep following in and around the area. It will come about no question. The indoor game is perfect for this city, especially to the 56 colleges and universities around the area, mostly supporting the pubs and clubs that lead to the sporting venue.
And the indoor lacrosse game comes to life in the TD Banknorth Garden and thank you for the warm reception upon our first visit since the building was brand new. The operations crew did a great job in staging the game (new surface looked good) and an interesting mark with the dasherboards.
While the floor crew transformed the playing surface from Bruins ice, the event team dressed the dasherboard signage with a black background. It condensed the playing surface visually. More importantly, it was easier to see the lacrosse ball end to end, there was an interesting definition.
The music build right before the game with a full version of Steely Dan's 'Reeling in the Years' was pretty cool. It seemed to stoke the fans and get them involved.
And everyone seemed to have a good time including the large Buffalo Bandits fan contingent in one section- very impressive. I heard on my way out "that was a wicked good time."
Hey, Celtics played Friday night and the Bruins played Saturday afternoon and the Blazers/ Bandits followed at 7:30 p.m. Red Sox opening day was Monday and the Marathon April 20th. Lots to root for.
How about rooting for the away team, with the Bandits storming back to beat the Blazers off six goals scored by John Tavares and four by Mark Steenhuis.
Tavares crossed the 1,400 NLL-point plateau in style with some beautiful shots, which opened the scoring and closed it. All-important point in the game was the seven-goal scoring binge the Bandits went on in the first and second quarter. Tavares net four in that run.
Sean Greenhalgh had some great swings, as did Mike Accursi. Kevin Dostie rounded out the scoring. Pat McCready notched four assists, one set-up perfect to Steenhuis, topping his night
The Bandits' defense settled down and held Dan Dawson to zero goals. Daryl Veltman did not play due to an upper body injury, losing production of 28 goals and 64 points.
Kenny Montour, 39 solid saves, many handled with utmost of confidence.
The Bandits earned post-season honors late Saturday night as Rochester watched their 7-1 lead over Calgary disappear in the second half, losing 12-9. The Knighthawks were outscored 8-2 in the second half.
This will be the Bandits seventh consecutive playoff and 15th in franchise history.
The Blazers are a good team and will be a part of Boston's right of spring with a well-earned playoff spot.
Bandits first and only double-header of the season is coming up Friday at home against Rochester and Saturday in New Jersey at the Prudential Center against the Titans.
Rochester is always a thorn in the Bandits' side and they are playing well of late, supporting a 6-7 record. This could be a prelude to the playoffs.
Patrick O'Toole has a 6-4 record and a .758 save percentage.
Shawn Williams went 2-4=6 in their loss, while Shawn Evans went 2-5=7
Titans split a pair with Philadelphia last weekend. Matt Vinc had 47 saves Sunday in their loss. Brendan Mundorf continues strong scoring (3+3) six points, while Casey Powell scored (5+3) eight points. Titans, too, moved in the playoff picture.
Ken Montour remains the No. 1 netminder of NLL with a .814 save percentage and a 7-2 record. O'Toole is tied for seventh and Matt Vinc is 12th with a 7-6 record.
The NLL scoring race is starting to tighten up with two weekends of regular season remaining.
Colin Doyle leads with 99 points. Dan Dawson has a two-point edge over Mark Steenhuis (45+45).
John Tavares is seventh. Shawn Williams has a one-point lead over Tavares with 78 points. Shawn Evens is ninth. Casey Powell and Pat Maddalena round out the top 15.
Radio coverage moves to WGR Sports Radio 550 Friday night. WGR's Dave Buchanan will do the pre-game show, starting at 7 p.m. Saturday night, coverage moves back to KB 1520, with the pre-game also starting at 7pm.