Features | 2/25/2014 9:51:45 AM | Alex Pagliano
| Jay Thorimbert (Credit: Bill Wippert)|
When the Buffalo Bandits need to win a critical faceoff, they turn to Jay Thorimbert.
With 19 seconds to play on Jan. 25, he may have taken the most important faceoff of the season for the team thus far. The visiting Rochester Knighthawks had scored five consecutive goals to cut the Bandits’ lead to one and Rochester threatened to even the game. But Thorimbert won the draw, maintained possession and secured the Buffalo victory.
"I know my role on this team," Thorimbert said. "I'm here to win faceoffs and to play good defense."
Thorimbert began to carve out his niche at the University of Guelph and focused on winning faceoffs as a transition player while with the now defunct Boston Blazer of the NLL in 2009.
"I started taking faceoffs in university and continued to improve with Boston," he said. "Just taking a lot of [faceoffs], that's how you get better at them. You just keep working at them."
Now in his sixth season, Thorimbert ranks third in the NLL with 121 faceoff wins and fifth with 85 loose balls. On top of that, he’s has also chipped in five points (2+3).
"I take great pride in winning [faceoffs]. It's kind of like a wrestling match. It's a one-on-one battle for the win," he said.
Thorimbert's second goal of the season came seven seconds into the second half against Philadelphia on Feb. 15. Thorimbert acknowledged that some of his contributions may be overlooked, and he's fine with that notion.
"Any recognition you get, whether that's winning faceoffs, or scoring goals, it just doesn't matter to me," he said. "As long as what I'm doing helps the team, that's all that really matters."
While Thorimbert plays an important role for the team, he doesn’t take anything for granted since the Bandits possess tremendous depth at transition.
"Every practice, there's competition for those roster spots," he said. "With [Andrew Watt] and Kevin Brownell returning from injury, that just makes the competition even more intense. That's not necessarily a bad thing for our lacrosse team."
The Bandits are 6-2 this season and hold a one-game lead over Rochester for first place in the NLL East. They don’t play again until March 8 when the Minnesota Swarm come to First Niagara Center and Thorimbert knows that the team will have to stay sharp both through their bye weeks and the rest of the season.
"Our defense has punished people, and our offense has found the back of the net. Anthony Cosmo can steal us a game, too," he said. "I absolutely think we can compete [for a championship]. There's no limit to what we can do this season, but we just have to keep playing like we have been and then just see where we wind up."