Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Buffalo Bandits Rally in the Fourth Quarter to Defeat Toronto Rock 15-13 in NLL

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Buffalo Bandits Rally in the Fourth Quarter to Defeat Toronto Rock 15-13 in NLL

Article excerpt

Bandits rally past Rock 15-13 in NLL


TORONTO - The Buffalo Bandits rallied from three goals down in the fourth quarter to shock Toronto 15-13 on Thursday night and close in on the first-place Rock in the National Lacrosse League's East Division.

Shawn Williams led the way with four goals, John Tavares scored three including an empty-netter with 7.6 seconds left, Aaron Wilson and Jay Thorimbert had two goals each and Jimmy Purves, Dhane Smith, Billy Dee Smith and Scott Self added one each for the 5-3 Bandits.

It was a diversified attack that included a string of fast-break goals in the last quarter that swung the final verdict Buffalo's way.

"We have a lot of new players on the team and a lot more depth," said Tavares, pro lacrosse's all-time leading scorer. "The games we've won this year, we've had a lot of guys pitch in with one or two goals a game.

"That's our philosophy this year. We don't want to rely on just one or two guys. We want everybody to score one or two. It makes us harder to defend when everybody is a threat."

Garrett Billings had four goals and four assists for the Rock (6-3). Colin Doyle, Blaine Manning, Kasey Beirnes and Stephan Leblanc scored two goals each and Josh Sanderson got one.

Buffalo led 4-2 after one quarter and 6-5 after two, and Toronto was up 11-8 after three.

Rock coach Troy Cordingley said the only thing good about his players' performance was a 12-minute span of the third quarter when they scored five consecutive goals to grab a lead.

"Twelve minutes doesn't win you a game," said Cordingley. "We weren't on the same page.

"We were awful in every aspect of the game. We were outworked, outwilled, loose ball retrieval was terrible, didn't get the saves when we needed them -- we were just awful. We have (played) some good lacrosse up (until) now and I guess it was time for a stinker. I don't know why they happen but it happens."

Buffalo tied it 11-11 with three consecutive fast-break goals by Thorimbert, Williams and Billy Dee Smith within 61 seconds at the start of the fourth quarter.

"The boys stepped up," said coach Darris Kilgour. "They knew we needed a spark. We got some chances to push the ball up the floor and they did a great job shooting. We shot a lot better in the fourth quarter than we did in the third."

Billy Dee Smith's big goal came on a breakaway. Nobody laid a stick on him.

"They didn't come to me so I just fired it," he said. "They were kind of slow going off (on a line change) and we took advantage of it."

Williams then gave the Bandits the lead for a fifth time when he beat Rock goalie Nick Rose from a bad angle at 5:41, and Tavares made it 13-11 with a laser from the middle of the Rock zone to a top corner of the net at 8:11.

Doyle ended the five-goal Buffalo run by picking a top corner of the net from the top of a power-play setup at 9:18, but Self got another fast-break Bandits goal by shooting the ball through Rose's legs at 11:01. …

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