Dave DiRuscio Gets a Shot with Bandits

David DiRuscio is a player’s player. The 6’5, 300lb goaltender is an intimidating sight upon first glance, but spend a few minutes with him and you’ll come to know a gentle but determined human being, who is a fierce teammate and always has time for the fans.

DiRuscio was highly touted for the 2012 NLL draft, but bad luck prevented him from being drafted as he suffered a broken leg the day before the draft. It took two years, but DiRuscio is back in form and has been turning heads wherever he has played, and was recently signed by the Buffalo Bandits to his first professional contract.

“It felt great to sign with Buffalo,” he said. “I would have been happy to sign with any team in the NLL but signing with Buffalo is definitely special. They have been my favourite team since I was a kid.”

The Peterborough Lakers drafted DiRuscio to the MSL in 2014, although they promptly traded his rights to the Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks in exchange for Aaron Wilson. Fans later learned that players cannot be traded the same year they have been drafted, so while the Lakers still received Wilson’s services, the Kodiaks have to wait until 2015 for DiRuscio. The Lakers needed an immediate scoring threat in their lineup, and goaltending was not a priority, with the team having also acquired Matt Vinc.

In the summer, one Peterborough Lakers board member (who is no longer with the team) lamented the fact that the team had traded DiRuscio’s future rights and expressed hope that the trade could be reversed, stating that “that kid is going to be a player. He could be our future,” comparing DiRuscio to Paddy O’Toole, who backstopped the Lakers to three Mann Cups.

In Peterborough, DiRuscio made an impact, especially with tiny fans. He would stay out after warm-up and let the kids shoot on him, even suiting up for intermissions when he was scratched, to allow the kids extra practice time. He didn’t get much playing time in Peterborough, as the team already had a capable backup for Vinc in Tyler Carlson. DiRuscio got into four games, picking up two wins and one loss, and earning an 8.37 GAA and 7.50 save percentage.

Prior to joining the Lakers, DiRuscio spent the 2014 CLAX season with the Niagara Lock Monsters, where his performance received rave reviews. While there, he helped the team win the Creator’s Cup, was named goaltender of the year and MVP, and was named to the first all star team and all rookie team.

In junior lacrosse, DiRuscio spent two seasons with the Coquitlam Adanacs, where he was voted each season to the first all star team and awarded the Monty Leahy trophy as most outstanding goaltender.

In Buffalo, DiRuscio has a huge chance to crack the roster in his first year. With Kurtis Wagar announcing his retirement recently, that leaves open a space for a capable backup goaltender, who can learn from the veteran Anthony Cosmo.

“Buffalo runs a pretty competitive training camp, and I’m hoping that I can prove myself to the coaches and earn a spot on the team,” he said, while recognizing that “they are definitely looking to fill a goaltender spot this season and it’s going to be up to me to show them that I deserve it.”