As the sun rises on this Monday morning, there are a few National Lacrosse League numbers to think about with regard to Sunday’s Buffalo Bandits at Minnesota Swarm game. First, the 0-0 tie at the end of the first quarter was the first scoreless first quarter in NLL history. Second, the Swarm forced an incredible 31 turnovers by the Bandits. Third, Buffalo’s John Tavares was held without a point for the first time since April 26, 2002, a stretch of 185 games. And four, we find the only number the Swarm care about: 10-9. That was the final score of Sunday’s game and it was a Swarm victory in overtime, their first at home this season. “We’ve been battling so hard every game to get a win,” Minnesota’s Callum Crawford told NLL.com after scoring the winner. “It’s a feeling of accomplishment because you know you’re beating a good team and they gave you everything they had and we gave it right back.”
Indeed, there is plenty to soak in following Sunday’s matinee in Minnesota. In addition to what’s already been mentioned, Minnesota won for just the second time in 9 games to improve to 3-9. And with Toronto’s loss to Philadelphia on Saturday, the Swarm are just 1.5 games shy of the third and final playoff spot for the East Division.
“We are still in this playoff run,” Crawford told MNSwarm.com. “(This win) gives us life and shows that it is attainable. The season is not lost and if we keep working hard good things will come.”
No one has accused the Swarm of not working hard but luck and fortunate bounces certainly have not come their way this season. But coach Joe Sullivan said it all came together on Sunday and that work ethic came into play during a tight game after the Bandits opened 2-goal leads on 3 separate occasions, the final being a 9-7 advantage at the 8:25 mark of the fourth.
But goals from Greg Downing and Scott Jones knotted the score and sent the game to added time. And even then, the tension was high as nearly 8 minutes of overtime was played. Buffalo goalie Anthony Cosmo made 4 saves and Minnesota’s Tyler Carlson made 4 in OT before Crawford juked his way to open space for a drive to the cage for the winner.
“I thought it was an exceptional game by both teams,” Bandits coach Troy Cordingley told NLL.com. “Guys that scored tonight earned the goals.”
And while the Swarm celebrate their return to the win column, the Bandits are left to think about their 0-2 weekend that started with a Friday road loss to Edmonton. Now at 8-4, the losses knock the Bandits out of first place in the East and they suddenly find themselves looking up at Rochester, which moved to the top of the division without playing a game this weekend.
“We didn’t have the weekend we wanted to have,” said Cordingley. “It doesn’t end our season. We have a veteran group that knows how to win so we’ve just got to get back to that.”
Minnesota 10, Buffalo 9 (OT)
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Buffalo’s bad weekend got started with a trip to Edmonton on Friday night and the Bandits started well enough. But coming out of a 4-4 tie in the second quarter, the Rush scored 8 straight to take control and run their record to 11-0. “Truth be told, they’re the toughest and best team that we’ve played this year, head and shoulders above us tonight. We weren’t good, they made us that way,” said Bandits coach Troy Cordingley. (Edmonton Sun) … The Bandits were the only team the Rush had not played this season, making the start of the game predictably slow as the teams felt each other out. But the Rush pulled away from a 4-4 tie in the second quarter to lead 9-4 by halftime and allowed just 1 Buffalo goal the rest of the way. “I thought we were a little flat footed early and they were beating us. But when our defence picks it up, we start taking away time and space,” aid Edmonton GM/coach Derek Keenan. (Edmonton Journal) … The Vancouver Stealth outscored the Calgary Roughnecks 8-7 over the final 3 quarters of Friday’s game. The problem for the Stealth is that Calgary outscored Vancouver 6-0 in the first quarter and led 8-0 before the Stealth scored their first goal. “It is disappointing. Calgary didn’t do anything that we didn’t talk about or plan for. Our offence has been struggling again and they got a huge lead on us and we didn’t come to life until after that,” Stealth coach Chris Hall said. (Langley Times).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 firstname.lastname@example.org or go to RochesterSports.com.
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