Once again this weekend, the Toronto Rock are playing in the National Lacrosse League game most fraught with playoff implications. Last week, they beat the Philadelphia Wings to earn a berth in the postseason. Now, second place and a home playoff date are at stake as the Rock play host to the Buffalo Bandits. It would take more than just a win Friday night to secure second for the Rock, but a loss ensures that they’ll be travelling to Buffalo to open the playoffs rather than making the short trip to the friendly confines of the Air Canada Centre. READ MORE »
Archive for the ‘Buffalo Bandits’ Category
The Toronto Rock (7-9) clarified the playoff picture and muddied it a bit at the same time, pulling out a 10-9 win over the Philadelphia Wings (5-11) to clinch the third and final playoff spot in the National Lacrosse League’s East Division. With the Buffalo Bandits (8-7) losing by the same 10-9 score to the Minnesota Swarm (4-12), Toronto creeps closer to the Bandits in the battle for second place and the chance to host a first-round playoff game. In last night’s other games, the Rochester Knighthawks (12-4) downed the Vancouver Stealth (4-11) 10-7 and the Edmonton Rush (15-1) got right back on the winning track after losing Friday for the first time this year. Edmonton took a 15-11 win over the Calgary Roughnecks (10-6). READ MORE »
Five games in week 16 of the NLL. Four playoff berths secured. Three more weeks in the regular season. Two more playoff spots up for grabs. One thrilling weekend.
Already clinching the West Division title and 2014 top overall seed, the Edmonton Rush (14-0) start their two game road trip against the Mammoth (5-10) in Colorado on Friday night before returning north of the border to face the Calgary Roughnecks (10-5) on Saturday for the third Battle of Alberta this season. In the first two games, the Rush outscored the Roughnecks 30-15.
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John Tavares scored his 800th National Lacrosse League goal last Saturday for the Buffalo Bandits. As impressive as that is, it’s not a record, really, because Tavares long ago passed Gary Gait’s old record of 635 career goals so every goal Tavares scores these days is a record. Tavares is a humble man and doesn’t like to talk about his achievements because to him, he’s just doing what he loves to do. And while he downplays the achievement, crediting it to being in the NLL for so long, it doesn’t keep others from pouring on the praise. “John always morphed his game to suit his age or injuries,” Edmonton Rush coach/GM Derek Keenan told Neil Stevens of the Canadian Press. “He’s a smart player,” says Troy Cordingley, current coach of the Bandits who also was a teammate in Buffalo. “You have to try to outsmart him, which is pretty difficult.” Bob Hamley, just dismissed earlier this season as coach of the Colorado Mammoth, also is a former Bandits teammate of JT’s. “I consider lacrosse players to be competitive people but John was and is at another level when it comes to competing. You combine this with his on-floor intelligence and it made him what he is today. His drive and intelligence are unmatched.”
The playoff race continues to intensify; Edmonton and Rochester are already in, Buffalo and Calgary punched their ticket last weekend, and now we’re down to five teams fighting for two berths.
Tied after the first, third, and fourth quarters, the Rochester Knighthawks started their home-and-home series against the Swarm with an overtime win in Minnesota on Friday. Back in Rochester on Saturday, the Knighthawks led the Swarm for the entire game, sweeping the series and putting more room between them and East Division second place Buffalo Bandits.
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The final score isn’t what they wanted, but the Buffalo Bandits scored huge when it came to support for Tucker Williams. The 8-year-old son of forward Shawn Williams is battling lymphoma and Saturday’s home game, a 16-13 loss to the Calgary Roughnecks, was “Tucker Out Lymphoma Night” and the youngster was able to attend the game. “He actually wasn’t supposed to be here. The last round of chemo was on Thursday,” Shawn Williams told the Buffalo News. “The numbers were a little low, and we were a little upset. We didn’t want to miss any treatment. Then it popped into my head that he could come out for the game. Everything turns out for a reason, and he had a ball. It was awesome.” And even though the Roughnecks left with the win on an emotional night for Buffalo and its fans, Tucker was on their minds too. “It was a very special night for Tucker Williams and he’s special in our hearts as well,” Calgary coach Curt Malawsky told NLL.com. “It was a great night for us to go out and put on a performance for him. It was part of my pregame speech. Shawn Williams is a salt-of-the-earth type guy and is dear to all our hearts.”
The Toronto Rock (6-9) won the game but may have lost a lot more in the process. Garrett Billings had 7 assists in the first half to become the first player in National Lacrosse League history to score 100+ points in three straight seasons as Toronto pummelled the Vancouver Stealth (4-10) 17-9. Late in the half, though, Billings fell to the floor as he drove to the net. IL Indoor’s Teddy Jenner tweeted after the game that Billings confirmed he has a torn ACL in his right knee. Billings will get an MRI on the knee but Jenner’s tweet suggests that it could be a long recovery with Billings out for the rest of this season and for the summer.
Billings was just one of several Rock players to have huge nights in the win. Stephan Leblanc and Colin Doyle each scored 5 goals, with Leblanc adding 5 assists and Doyle 1. Rob Hellyer had a career night with 3 goals and 8 assists and Kasey Beirnes added a hat trick and an assist. Rhys Duch led the Stealth with 4 goals and Brett Bucktooth chipped in 5 assists. READ MORE »
How much do you know about Pascal’s triangles and they relate to probability? And how much do you know about time and space, playing angles and how that relates to box lacrosse? John Tavares of the National Lacrosse League’s Buffalo Bandits knows a lot about both. By day, he’s a math teacher and by night (and weekends), he’s a lacrosse player of legendary proportions. Not much hasn’t been said or written about Tavares over the course of his lacrosse career that hasn’t already been said or written, but here’s a video produced by AT&T that takes a close look at the man, the player, the teacher, the husband, the father and — the hockey player? You bet. Check it out as this 20-minute clip delves into the life of Tavares. You’ll see him at work, at the rink and in the backyard rink lacing up the skates to keep the hockey skills sharp with his 2 children. You can also access the video by going to the Buffalo Bandits website.
Four more weeks. Four spots up for grabs. Six games in the National Lacrosse League this weekend. As of last weekend, the Rochester Knighthawks join the Edmonton Rush with a berth in the playoffs while all remaining seven teams are mathematically still in the running.
Last weekend Edmonton swept their East Division road trip; this weekend their provincial rivals will attempt to do the same. The Calgary Roughnecks (8-5) stop into Philadelphia to take on the Wings (5-9), with both teams on a two-game win streak. On Saturday, the Bandits (8-5) return to Buffalo after losing three on the road to host the Roughnecks.
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Two down, four more to go. The playoff race is getting hot in the NLL as wins from the Vancouver Stealth and Philadelphia Wings last weekend closed the gaps a little more in both the West and East Divisions.
Getting the party started last Saturday night, the Edmonton Rush extended their run to 12-0 with a win over East Division leading Knighthawks in Rochester. Despite the Swarm’s big boost of confidence and starting Saturday’s game against the Roughnecks with a two-goal lead and keeping it tied at the end of the second and third quarters, Minnesota dropped their tenth game of the season in Calgary.
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