The Buffalo Bandits (3-1) will square off with the Toronto Rock (4-1) this Saturday at the First Niagara Center. Here are a few of the storylines heading into the game.
The Bandits’ captain John Tavares will miss the game with a calf injury. He has had an issue with his calf in years prior, and Coach Darris Kilgour said he is definitely out. They’ll re-evaluate him after this weekend.
Former Bandits’ captain Chris White makes his return to Banditland, this time for the visiting Toronto Rock. He called his departure from Buffalo “one of the toughest decisions he’s ever made” but said he “couldn’t resist Toronto’s offer and the chance to be closer to home.” White signed with the Rock as a free agent in the offseason despite the Bandits matching their offer.
We found out the Luke Wiles has been unable to get up to Canada to practice weekly as he waits for his green card paperwork to push through. Wiles did score a big late goal for Buffalo, but many fans are worried about his lower goal production. Darris is hopeful that things will work out, especially once he’s able to resume practicing.
Coach Kilgour expects a tighter game this weekend saying “Nick Rose is a good goalie” and that Toronto has a strong defensive unit. He added that the Bandits’ defense “will have to be on point.” Kilgour also has been very excited with the Bandits offense saying “our ball movement has been great. We’re getting production from 6 or 7 guys this year as opposed to 2 or 3 last year.”
Perhaps the return of Billy Dee Smith to the lineup will help the Bandits out the back door. He said that there is definitely “room for improvement” on defense. Smith will be playing his second game after serving a 2 game suspension and getting injured at work.
Faceoff is at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Steve, a Buffalo native, is an avid Buffalo Bandits and NLL supporter.
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