We’ve heard this before from Darris Kilgour. “This is one of the dumbest teams around,” Kilgour told The Buffalo News. “You can’t take penalties against these guys, and we had two five-minute majors.” But ya know what? He’s right. Because the Bandits proved it again as the Toronto Rock cashed in on key penalties en route to a 14-12 National Lacrosse League victory on Saturday night. It’s still early in the season, of course, but the victory put the Rock in control of the East Division with a 5-1 record. And instead of gaining ground, the Bandits are left to stare at their 3-2 record and wonder what might have been had they been a bit more disciplined.
“We feel like we gave this one away with some undisciplined play,” Bandits’ defenseman Scott Self told The Buffalo News. “It really cost us the game.”
And transition man Mark Steenhuis pointed out that the Bandits have had at least 20 minutes in penalties in both of their losses. And like Kilgour, he’s right. The Bandits had 34 PIM in their season-opening loss to Philadelphia and 23 vs. Toronto. Combined, the Wings and Rock went 8-for-18 on the power play. And combined, the Bandits lost to the Wings and Rock by 7 goals.
The mathematics are too simplistic there, of course. To assume Philly and Toronto wouldn’t score otherwise is naive, but the point is that the Bandits are giving opponents chances. And as more than 1 NLL coach has pointed out this season, the NLL is a 1-goal league. GM Steve Dietrich even said before the season started that 1 5-minute major can cost a team a playoff spot.
Saturday didn’t cost the Bandits a playoff spot, but it did cost them an important East Division game. And that could come back to haunt them in April. But the Bandits won’t have to wait long to see if they’ve learned as they welcome another East Division rival — the Rochester Knighthawks — to Buffalo on Saturday.
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The Rochester Knighthawks got their first win of the season, a 7-6, defensive duel between goaltenders Matt Vinc and Tyler Richards. But, a win is a win at this point for the Knighthawks. “It wasn’t pretty but the defense played an outstanding game,” said Rochester transition man Joe Walters. (Democrat and Chronicle) … NASCAR champ Tony Stewart was in Rochester Saturday for the game against the Stealth and talked up his busy racing schedule for 2013. (Democrat and Chronicle) … You didn’t need to hear what Colorado coach Bob Hamley was saying to know he was not happy. After goalie Matt Roik was ejected for what officials said was illegal equipment, Hammer did not spare words. Fortunately for the Mammoth, it didn’t cost them the game as backup Dan Lewis came in and made 7 saves on 8 shots. But Hamley did clarify what was told to him by the officials. “He said it was an add-on to the glove,” said Hamley, referring to the official who gave him an explanation on the bench. “We’ll get it straightened out this week, and it didn’t hurt us so we’ll move on.” (ColoradoMammoth.com) … Not many envisioned the first-half track meet that unfolded in Edmonton beween the Rush and the Calgary Roughnecks, but a 10-10 halftime tie was where the teams stood. Making it tougher for Edmonton was the illness of starting goalie Aaron Bold, who gave way to Brodie MacDonald. The backup was admirable in making 29 saves, but the Riggers went on to an 18-15 win for their ninth straight regular-season win over the Rush. “You ask a young kid like that to get in there and that’s the expectation and he gave us an opportunity to win, just like last week. Hopefully, Aaron can get back on track. He’s our starting goalie. He’s struggled the last two weeks, but he’ll get it back. He’s a competitor and he knows how to play,” Edmonton coach Derek Keenan said. (Edmonton Journal) … Calgary forward Dane Dobbie says the Riggers are starting to find their way. They’ve won 3 straight after a 0-2 start but have yet to win at home but are hoping to change that in Saturday’s rematch with the Rush. “Our crowd is really big for us there and we need to get them a win. It was a good win on the road, but we feel the next one at home is just as big for us.” (Times-Colonist).Chavez is an avid lacrosse player in Rochester and a journalist for the Democrat and Chronicle as well as a longtime Inside Lacrosse contributor. Email him at email@example.com or go to RochesterSports.com.
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