The Buffalo Bandits will host Game 1 of the East Conference Finals against the Toronto Rock tonight at KeyBank Center.
Faceoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on ESPN+ and WGR 550. Limited tickets are still available.
Buffalo, who entered the NLL Playoffs as the No. 1-overall seed, knocked off the Rochester Knighthawks 20-8 last week to advance to the conference championship. The Rock defeated Halifax 15-11 to move on.
Friday’s game marks the 96th playoff game in Buffalo Bandits franchise history. The team holds an overall playoff record of 52-43. Buffalo holds a 39-19 all-time record in home playoff games.
This postseason marks the 24th time in franchise history that the Bandits have qualified for the playoffs. Buffalo closed the regular season with a 14-4 record, tying the franchise’s best regular-season win total, to secure first place in the league and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Bandits have earned the top seed in the postseason in three of the last four seasons (2018-19, 2021-22, 2022-23).
Buffalo won the regular-season series against Toronto 2-1. The Bandits earned an 11-8 victory over Toronto in their first road game of the season on December 17. The Rock defeated Buffalo 18-7 in Toronto on April 1 and then the Bandits won the third meeting of the regular-season against the Rock by a final score of 11-10 on April 22 in Buffalo’s home finale.
Fourteen Bandits have posted at least one point against Toronto this season. Dhane Smith leads the team against the Rock with 18 points (4+14) in three games played. Josh Byrne ranks second with 14 points (7+7). In three games this season, Matt Vinc has stopped 115 of the 145 shots he faced from Toronto.
Smith needs six goals to become the 12th player all-time to reach 50 goals in his playoff career and needs seven assists to pass Mark Matthews for fifth on the all-time playoff list with 78. He also needs three points to pass Mark Matthews for eighth on the all-time playoff list with 118.
Buffalo is 5-3 all-time against Toronto in the playoffs with a 2-1 record at home.
Game 2 of the best-of-three series will take place on Saturday at FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton at 7 p.m. If necessary, Game 3 will be played in Buffalo on May 20 at 7:30 p.m.