Fact or Fiction
Wow! We have watched, listened to, and witnessed some pretty fantastic sporting events in the last month, and Friday’s Bandits 13-8 win over the Albany FireWolves was no different.
I mean one goal in an entire quarter with 31 shots fired on net between the two teams; 18 minutes between goals; both teams being shut out every other frame; both going on six/seven-goal runs; taking leads, giving up leads.
And, last but not least, the weird of all weirds, all 21 goals scored went into one net. One side of the arena. Like the old Boston Garden, where you could only see half the ice if you were in upper loge seats.
If you were between sections 100 and 103, or sections 119 and 123, you got a birds-eye view of the 21 goals scored between the two clubs. What are the chances of that happening again?
I direct you to Budd Bailey’s story posted after the Bandits/FireWolves game for more numbers and records. Take a timeout check it out here, to read some pretty interesting and historical facts about this Bandits victory.
I have my own hypothesis on the sci-fi end, and maybe a little science, too, on how the 21 shots by the two clubs respectfully found the back of only one net.
Read me out here.
Perhaps this was a matter of coincidental timing. On Friday, February 18, between 7:41:32 pm and 9:52:43 pm, the movement of the waning gibbous moon, which was transforming the full moon towards a half-moon. With the significance of the drawing near the calendar date of 2/22/22, there was a larger than average pull from gravity, similar in higher ocean tides and waves.
Given the longitude and latitude of the arena floor specifics where the net was 43.8864 degrees north and 788784 degrees west, this was central to the gravitational pull in the time that night. Was it coincidental and more of an anomaly? Call it a “perfect storm.”
These factors certainly played a role with the static energy, enhancing the goalposts and crossbar attracting the non-conductive rubber ball towards and into the net. The net at the other end was the north pole, repelling all.
Fact or Fiction
Friday night was truly phenomenal. The game had everything you wanted from a night out attending a sporting event. Many fans came for their first time, and the faithful population of Banditland expected nothing less – and they got it!
The Bandits are now 7-1 and lead the National Lacrosse League in the overall standings. As the team takes the turn of the regular-season schedule (minus one game that still needs to be rescheduled), there are plenty of challenges ahead and more work to be done to get even better.
There are still two games against Halifax, who sit right next to the Bandits with a 6-1 record while on a three-game winning streak. One more game against Rochester, Albany, New York, Georgia, and Toronto, who sits on a four-game winning streak at 6-3.
The Bandits have two games against the 5-5 Philadelphia wings – always challenging – and one lone game out west in Colorado.
Because the Bandits have been playing so well, there is the proverbial target on the backs of each sweater. Every team will be stepping up their game.
“The loss was an eye-opener for us. You want to turn the page, but don’t forget, fix mistakes and move forward,” said Bandits GM and defensive coordinator Steve Dietrich.
“We need to control the pace of games, burying our chances; put the ball in the net. Defensively, we need to stay physical and wear the other guys down, slow the transition and get off the floor. We need to dictate how we want to play the game.”
The pace of Friday’s game was pretty amazing between the two clubs. With only one goal scored in the first quarter, which included 31 shots respectively, the goaltender saves and sprints back and forth was like following a tennis match.
Goals, penalties, commercial timeouts, pushing and shoving matches, halftime, two coach’s challenges, end-of-quarter breaks, and a heavyweight bout to boot. All in a matter of two hours and 16 minutes!
Ah, what just happened?
You have to admit there were some great plays executed. For example, with the score tied 1-1, watch below the defensive tactic by Josh Bryne, in the full sprint back to defense, then slapping the ball to take a FireWolves scoring attempt away.
This allows for an offensive burst with Smith, Fields, Buchanan, and Tehoka Nanticoke finishing with his beast mode to the net. The rookie scored his third hat trick and leads all rookies in goal scoring with 14. Oh, and he rang two posts with shots.
And then there was save after save by goaltender Matt Vinc, 54, to be exact.
Here Matt takes care of business, ending up with 24 saves in the first half, a .960 save percentage.
And what Bandit would take the scoring reins? On the radio pregame show, we selected Chris Cloutier, who netted four and proved us right.
“The amazing part of this offense, on any given night, any one of us can go off for a spectacular night,” said Cloutier, who averages almost four points per game, and has two game-winning goals. “It doesn’t matter if it’s your night or not; somebody else is going to have a good game.”
Quite frankly, Cloutier speaks the company line perfectly.
“We’ve learned a lesson with that loss. You can’t play flat and expect to win games. Control what we can control. The defense has to go out and check sticks, don’t lose your man, and help each other out. On offense, get each other open, help get over the top and underneath, get the open shot and fire them to the net,” said Cloutier.
Fantastic effort, too, by Connor Fields (2+1) and Tehoka Nanticoke (3+0) with nifty goals. Fields with his moves. Watch Ian MacKay set up Fields with a behind-the-back shot to the end boards, and Fields finishes off.
And the Bandits playmaking was a thing of beauty Friday night. Josh Byrne earned five assists (now 200 points of his career) led the team with nine loose balls and three blocked shots! Dhane Smith did Dhane Smith things going 2+4 and eight loosies. Kyle Buchanan, too, with four helpers-always keeping things tight.
“We have five stars out there at any one given time, and they can make Sports Center goals on every one of them. I don’t care if it’s forty feet out; just put the ball in the net. If we do that, we’ll be OK,” said Dietrich.
Fact or Fiction
The Bandits head on the road for two and down the New York State Thruway. This Saturday night, the club meets the Knighthawks for the final meeting of the regular season. The K-Hawks had a bye last week, and coming off a victory two weeks ago over Albany, so they will be stoked. The trip continues March 5 with a visit to the State Capital, facing the FireWolves. The next home game for the Bandits will be Saturday, March 12, against the Philadelphia Wings.
Saturday’s game in Rochester will be carried on ESPN+ and TSN. Radio coverage will be on 1520 The Bet. The pregame show will start at 7:30 pm, leading up to the 8 pm faceoff. I will go one-on-one with coach Tavares and up close with Nick Weiss.