Colin Doyle registers eight points in Toronto's 14-12 win over Buffalo
The Buffalo Bandits (3-2) had their three-game winning streak ended on Saturday night against the Toronto Rock (5-1) with a 14-12 loss. The loss also ends a home winning streak of five games. The Bandits last loss at home came against the Rock as well.
With the win, the Rock retained first place in the East Division, and the Bandits are now one and a half games back from first. The loss also drops the Bandits to 16-21 all-time against the Rock.
The problem of penalties once again came back to bite the Bandits. Billy Dee Smith took a five-minute major penalty and a two-minute minor for slashing four minutes in the second quarter. The Rock were able to score two goals on the ensuing power play.
Later in the game, Hayden Smith took a five-minute major after Scott Evans had take a five-minute match penalty for the Rock. That all but thwarted the Bandits comeback hopes. The Rock registered a total of four power play goals in the game.
“I don’t know what to tell these guys to get them to stop taking penalties,” Bandits head coach Darris Kilgour said. “We could have scored as many goals as we wanted on the match penalty, and then we take the five. It’s bad lacrosse.”
The Bandits were able to control play early. They had three or four quality scoring opportunities in the opening minutes of the game. Goaltender Nick Rose was able to stand tall, however, and shut each opportunity down. Rose finished with 45 saves.
Bandits goalie Anthony Cosmo played well, making 32 saves of his own, but Kilgour thinks he could have gotten more from his starting goalie.
“This is the first game that I’ll say Cosmo needs to make some saves for us,” Kilgour said. “We didn’t get the timely saves that they did out there.”
Colin Doyle was the difference offensively for the Rock. He had four goals and eight points. All four of his goals were critical, as they all increased the Rock lead each time the Bandits got closer to tying it.
Offense was not an issue for the Bandits either. Shawn Williams once again lead the team with five points (one goal, four assists) on the night. Aaron Wilson and Mark Steenhuis both added hat tricks.
Steenhuis had a big goal part way through the third period. As he was driving to the net, Scott Evans hit him up high, knocking Steenhuis’ helmet off. That did not deter the Bandits transition player, as he continued running and blew a shot past Rose.
“They want me to do a good job of running the ball up the floor,” Steenhuis said. “The offense has been rolling, we have to clean up our defense. We want to play clean, hard lacrosse.”
Everything came back to the defensive side of the ball for the Bandits. The Bandits have surrendered 13 or more goals in all five of their games this season.
“We feel that maybe we gave it away,” Bandits defender Scott Self, who scored a goal of his own, said. “Maybe we’re just a little bit overzealous on defense. There is some mistakes we’re going to make out there, but I think we’re starting to correct them.”
Bandits captain John Tavares missed the game with a calf injury, and his status is still up in the air, according to Kilgour. The team will know more once their able to assess the injury further at practice on Tuesday.
Although the team did not want to use his absence as in excuse, they admit it did a have an effect.
“I think when you’re missing a player of his caliber, it’s a big loss,” Steenhuis said. “We definitely miss him out there.”
“Anytime you don’t have Johnny on the bench, it hurts, but I thought we did a good job on the bench,” Kilgour said. “We showed a lot of resiliency, but we just have to get out of own way and quit doing the things on the back end that are hurting us.”
The Bandits dropped to 1-1 on their current three-game home stand and will finish it off next Saturday night, when the Rochester Knighthawks come to town. Game time is set for 7:30 PM at the First Niagara Center.