Rock Falls to the Bandits in Eastern Division Finals 5/11/19

Shawn Palmer, Correspondent Toronto Rock
Lacrosse is Awesome©

Featured Image Photo Credit:  Sara Schmidle

The Toronto Rock (1-1) visited the Buffalo Bandits (2-0)  in the Eastern Division Finals on Saturday night and in a game of runs the Bandits would come out victorious by the score of 12 – 8 in front of 11,635 happy Bandit fans and will head to the NLL Finals to face the Western Division Champions the Calgary Roughnecks (2-0).

The Bandits opened the scoring when Dhane Smith (1G, 4A) beat Nick Rose (45 saves) to the short side with a shot as he was battling with Challen Rogers (2G, 1A) for position.  The Rock were able to get that goal back on the power play as Adam Jones (4G, 3A) received a pass from Rogers and beat Matt Vinc (43 saves, 1A) on a shot from the outside up high to the short side.  Buffalo would respond quickly as Josh Byrne (1G, 1A) faked outside and went inside beating Rose high to the stick side.  Less than 20 seconds later Toronto would tie it up again as Brock Sorensen (1G) went in on a two on one, kept it himself with a bounce shot between the legs to make it 2-2.  At the end of the first quarter it was tied at two and the shots on goal were Buffalo 14 Toronto 9.

The second quarter started off as a goalie dual with both Vinc and Rose turning away chances for more than half of the quarter.  Finally, the Rock scored the first goal of the quarter when Rogers took an overhand shot from the top on the power play and beat Vinc to the stick side to give Toronto their first lead of the game at 3 – 2.  The Bandits tied it up again 15 seconds later as Shawn Evans (2G, 2A) passed across the crease to Corey Small (3G) who made a quick stick shot to the short side to beat Rose.  The Bandits next goal was on the transition as Smith fed Bryce Sweeting (1G, 1A) and he beat Rose with a quick stick of his own to the stick side to give Buffalo a 4 – 3 lead.  The Bandits scored their third in a row as Smith found Small cutting through the middle with a shot low to the far side.  It looked like Buffalo had scored another goal as Chase Fraser (2G) faked a shot to beat Rogers to the outside and then he dove across the crease to beat Rose far side.  Toronto challenged the goal and the replay showed that his foot was in the crease before the ball went across the line, no goal and it stayed 5 – 3 for Buffalo.  A minute later Buffalo did score to increase their lead to three goals as Evans went around a pick and beat Rose short side with a sidearm shot, making the score 6 – 3 for Buffalo at the half.

The Bandits continued their scoring ways to start the second half as Matt Spanger (1G), on a transition breakaway, beat Rose over the shoulder to increase the Buffalo lead to 7 – 3.  The Bandits went on their first power play of the game half way through the third quarter and Small received a cross floor pass from Smith and his quick stick shot beat Rose to the open side making it 8 – 3.  The Rock stopped the Bandit run a minute later when Tom Schreiber (4A) passed the ball across the field to Kieran McArdle (1G) and he beat Vinc short side.  In what looked like a turning point in the game, Mitch DeSnoo took two penalties on the same play for holding the stick and unsportsmanlike allowing the Rock a chance to get back in the game.  Toronto took advantage of the power play right away as Rogers came over the top with an over hand shot and beat Vinc high to low to make the score 8 – 5 for the Bandits.  Buffalo killed off the second DeSnoo penalty but the Rock used the momentum to score again with less than two minutes left in the frame as Jones would score his second on the night from outside on a shot that beat Vinc over the arm and the lead was down to two at 8 – 6 at the end of the third quarter.  The shots on goal after three quarters had Buffalo leading Toronto 45—36.

Toronto scored the first goal of the final quarter to bring themselves to within one when Jones beat Vinc over the shoulder from the top for his hat trick and it was now 8 – 7 and the Buffalo fans had quieted down anticipating the close fight to the end that these two teams have been known for in the past.  In the end that was as close as the Rock would get as Buffalo went on a run of their own starting off with Fraser picking up a rebound and running the floor unimpeded to beat Rose with a shot between the legs to increase the lead to 9 – 7 for the Bandits.  Evans scored next for the Bandits when he came over the top and took a shot over a screen and beat Rose to the stick side making it 10 – 7 Bandits.  With less than five minutes left in the game Fraser received a pass from Evans and dove across the crease to beat Rose to the far side on the power play to increase Buffalo’s lead to four at 11 – 7.  Buffalo’s final goal of the night came off a Vinc save that went to Kevin Brownell (1G) who ran down the floor and put the ball into the empty net.  Toronto refused to give up and continued to fire shots at Vinc; Jones would score his fourth of the night, final of the night and last of the 2019 season on a great shot low to high that beat Vinc over the shoulder into the top corner.   The shots on goal were Buffalo 57 and Toronto 51.  Final Score:  Buffalo 12—Toronto 8.

The Three Stars:

  1. Corey Small – 3G
  2. Adam Jones – 4G, 3A
  3. Dhane Smith – 1G, 4A

NEXT UP:

The Buffalo Bandits (2-0) will host game one of the NLL Championship Series on Saturday May 18, at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, NY, game time 7:30 p.m.

Shawn Palmer, Correspondent Toronto Rock
Lacrosse is Awesome©

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