The Buffalo Bandits will have to wait another week for a chance to capture a fifth NLL championship for the franchise, as the Colorado Mammoth stayed alive with a 16-10 win in Game 2 of the NLL Finals at Ball Arena on Monday.
The best-of-three series is tied, 1-1. Game 3 will be played at KeyBank Center on Saturday, June at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now.
The game will air live on The CW 23 in Buffalo.
Dhane Smith led the Bandits with six points (2+4) while Tehoka Nanticoke scored four goals. Goaltender Matt Vinc made 42 saves on 57 shots.
Ryan Lee (4+3) and Eli McLaughlin (3+4) led Colorado with seven points each. Zed Williams had six (2+4), while Connor Robinson scored a hat trick as part of a five-point outing. Reigning Finals MVP Dillon Ward stood tall in net with 38 saves on 48 shots.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Ian MacKay opened the scoring for the Bandits with 11:00 left to play in the first quarter. Kyle Buchanan followed with a goal of his own to make it 2-0.
The Bandits’ early lead was stunted by Chris Wardle, who put the first tally on the board for Colorado.
Smith returned the two-goal advantage to Buffalo with 2:37 on the clock after a double-clutch move, but Josh Sullivan and Connor Robinson scored to the game at 3-3 as the first quarter ended.
Lee opened the quarter with a pair of goals, granting Colorado its first lead of the game. Smith answered for the Bandits, but Lee capped off his three-goal quarter just over a minute later.
Robinson’s tally on the power play gave the Mammoth a three-goal edge, but Chris Cloutier flew down the left wing with 3:17 remaining to lessen the home team’s momentum. With 45.9 seconds left in the half, Williams snuck one in the net to restore the three-goal lead heading into halftime.
McLaughlin scored for Colorado to open the quarter. Nanticoke answered for Buffalo 29 seconds later after a silky dish from Smith.
Lee, McLaughlin, and Williams strung together the next three goals for the Mammoth. Nanticoke’s second goal of the quarter cut the deficit to 13-7 heading into the final fourth.
Tyson Gibson added his name to the score sheet for Colorado early in the period. The Bandits scored three times in the quarter – two from Nanticoke and another from Chase Fraser – but the Mammoth held off their comeback attempt. Dylan Kinnear capped the scoring for Colorado.