Faces from my past return. Another lesson yet to learn. Fool me once, fool me twice… Are you death or paradise? Now you’ll never see me cry; there’s just no time to die.
Ok, ok, wait a minute. Not so fast, and there will be no death on the season here. By the way, what was the score last Saturday night?
I thought so.
True that. The New York Riptide were the better team, and they were prepared, desperate, and confident.
On the other bench, the Bandits were..?
“We were indecisive, no confidence in the entire first half. Sometimes it happens for one or two shifts, but literally, it was for the first 30 minutes, nothing seemed to work for us,” Bandits head coach John Tavares said to reporter Budd Bailey.
“I couldn’t tell if they were passing or shooting the ball. We had forced turnovers, unforced turnovers, we were missing the nets, not bearing opportunities; it wasn’t our night tonight.”
Yeah, Saturday night’s loss to the New York Riptide generates a lot of metaphors, and I can come up with the best one: The wheels had already fallen even before the team was introduced. And, it was the best thing that could of happened to this team at this point in the schedule; let them experience the agony of defeat.
“We can’t just come out and throw our sticks out onto the floor and expect to win,” said general manager and defensive coordinator Steve Dietrich.
“One team came mentally and physically ready to play (NY), and one team came physically ready to play (Buff). We need to get back to the basics and do our job, and this motivates us a little more to get back maybe do the little things we got away from.”
Look at that; the waves are breaking both ways. Get out there and surf, soldier.
The Bandits couldn’t catch – and shoot – much of anything Saturday night, other than a bit of the yapping flu. Bad penalties cost them 25 minutes, stacking five players in the box like it was old-school lacrosse. Three penalty shots were awarded to New York as a bonus for the Bandits’ wrong moves.
“We came out flat, and we thought they would just give it to us. Every team in this league is great, and we just had a terrible first half. We didn’t stick to the game plan, and we weren’t shooting or catching the ball and later took a lot of stupid penalties,” said Dhane Smith, who set a new league regular-season assist record, now sitting at 87.
“That being said, there is no excuse. We believe in each other. We practice Wednesday, and we’ll come hard and be ready to play in Georgia on Saturday; that’s a big one for us.”
It was great to see Tavares tag up with some of his former teammates of the 1992 championship team, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the first of four league titles. Mike Burnam, Mike Mooradian, Brian Hall, Jim Veltman, and Richie Kilgore took to the center of the field to be recognized and salute the fans of Banditland.
More positives and smiles by going to the video tape
In addition to Smith establishing the new regular-season assist record, Josh Byrne netted his 100th career goal. It’s a classic Air Byrne, nicely set up by Connor Fields and Chris Cloutier.
And how about this beauty by Chase Fraser with a quick reflex in flight.
Fraser now has 15 goals in his last four games: 4-4-4-3.
While goaltender Matt Vinc would want several goals back, he did return for the second half after a six-minute bench break in the second quarter, stopping several point-blank and two penalty shots.
And leaving the highlights with a Dhane Smith goal to ignite the Bandit scoring enthusiasm as the team gets set for next weekend. The Great Dhane would also add his 500th career assist, an incredible achievement for one of the franchise’s all-time greats.
Smith delivers the mail beautifully.
Georgia on my Mind
While the Bandits stay in the same hotel as the Alabama Crimson Tide football team does when they play the Georgia Bulldogs, that should add a slight aura of winning, getting things back on track.
The Swarm will, too, be playing rested, ready and desperate. Splitting a home and home series with Toronto a couple of weeks ago, the Bandits will face the ever-elusive Lyle Thompson (41+43=84) and Shayne Jackson (32+35=67).
Interestingly, the Swarm has a strong defense/transition group that includes Brendan Bomberry, who leads the league in defenseman scoring (23+29=52); Jordan MacIntosh, third (15+31=46); and Bryan Cole, fifth, with 11+14=25. Veteran netminder Mike Poulin, .759 save percentage, has recorded 40-plus save performances in his last two games and 3-1 in his previous four games.
Saturday night’s game from Gas South Arena will be carried on ESPN+ and TSN. Coverage begins at 7 pm, and the radio will be on 1520 The Bet. The Pregame show goes up at 6:30 pm.