The Buffalo Bandits defeated the Minnesota Swarm 12-8 on Saturday night at the First Niagara Center. This marks the second time the Bandits have defeated Minnesota, as the Bandits pulled out the W in a January matchup.
The Bandits controlled the game from the very start. Mark Steenhuis opened the scoring for the game with a nice shot while driving through the middle. That was all the momentum the Bandits needed, as they went on to score four more within the next two minutes to complete the five goal run. This was highlighted by Ryan Benesch’s two goal effort, with one goal each from both Steve Priolo and Alex Kedoh-Hill. It was around this time when Zach Higgins was pulled from goal in favor of Brodie MacDoanld. Then it wasn’t until Callum Crawford finally stopped the bleeding and put one past Anthony Cosmo. His team would go on a short run of their own with the help of Miles Thompson adding a goal and Crawford adding to the scoresheet again minutes later. The first quarter ended 6-3 in favor of Buffalo.
The first quarter was probably the only time where these two teams seemed to be somewhat even (at least near the end of it). After that is was all Bandits, however Minny did shut out Buffalo in the fourth, but failed to capitalize on the situation effectively. Minnesota seemed to put up a great effort however, especially in the shots category, which ended 52-49 in favor of the Swarm. The Bandit defense seemed to clearly struggle, which allowed Minny to get a lot of shots on net. If it hadn’t been for Bandit goalie Anthony Cosmo standing on his head at some points, the score could have easily went the other way.
The night was highlighted by an incident that occurred in the second quarter involving Cosmo. The goalie made a save on a shot on goal, but neither he nor the referee could find the ball in Cosmo’s pads. The Crew Chief Chris Williams then ordered Cosmo off the floor and into the tunnel, where the three officials (and later two paramedics) checked all of Cosmo’s equipment (the goaltender had to totally undress) for about 10 minutes with play completely stopped, until finally the ball trickled out of somewhere (no one really knows still). Now I’ve talked to a few people about this and I have heard (from a former NLL equipment manager) that according to some NLL policy, goalies are only given 30 seconds to find a lost ball in their equipment before they HAVE to be sent off the floor and replaced by the backup; in which play is then immediately resumed. This can seem plausible as this is what happened a few years ago when Cosmo was playing for the now-defunct Boston Blazers, and a similar incident occurred, and Nick Rose had to be sent in as a relief.
My first star honors have to go to Cosmo, who stopped 44 of 52 shots. For second star I’m going to have to go with Mark Steenhuis with three goals and three assists. For third star Dhane Smith who ended the night with three goals and two assists.