For everyone involved with the Buffalo Bandits organization, the 2013 National Lacrosse League season was definitely a season to forget. The Bandits last season were tied for the most goals allowed with 211, second last in goals scored with 171 and worst of all, the Bandits at 6-10 had the worst win-loss record and the only team in the league not to qualify for the playoffs. Due to this, the Bandits spent the entire offseason examining every aspect of their team from top to bottom to see where changes needed to be made.
Enter in Bandits new head coach Troy Cordingley and his philosophy that “every spot is open to competition and up for grabs”. Hoping to take advantage of this new opportunity is journeyman goaltender Steven Fryer.
Fryer’s lacrosse career is defined as a goaltender with a profound sense of persistence, high levels of skill and lengthy experience. The 6-foot-1 180lb. goaltender from Brampton, Ontario is right now hot on the heels of the Bandits’ 2013 starter Anthony Cosmo for the starting goaltending position in Buffalo. Cosmo explained the level of goaltending competition so far during training camp as “It’s gonna be tough, even my position is not solidified. Every single one can play in this league and have the possibility of being the starter.”
Fryer’s professional lacrosse career began with a goaltending stint representing the Ontario Lacrosse Association’s Jr. A Brampton Excelsiors in 2009. That year, Fryer led them all the way to the Minto Cup Championships but lost in the final. He stayed for one more season with Brampton in 2010, before being traded to the Coquitlan Adanacs of the WLA in 2011. That season, Fryer also led the Adanacs to the Minto Cup Championships but again lost in the finals.
Later on in the year, Fryer was drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 NLL draft to the Philadelphia Wings. In his first season with the Wings, Fryer became the primary backup to Wings starter Brandon Miller and recorded seven games with seven goals allowed and fourteen saves, earning a 67% save rate. In his second season with the Wings Fryer saw action in 10 games and had a GAA of 8.80 before he was released by the Wings in December 2012.
Fryer has had a pretty productive 2013 so far before trying out for the Buffalo Bandits. This year saw Fryer achieve some extra goaltending experience with the Brampton Inferno of the Canadian Lacrosse League during the winter and the Brooklin Redmen of Major Series Lacrosse during the summer.
Fryer’s ability to keep his skills sharp, being game-ready, together with his numerous years of experience have been the key so far for Fryer’s longevity in his lacrosse career. After spending two exhibition games and all of training camp with the Buffalo Bandits, hopefully Fryer has proven himself worthy enough to General Manager Steve Dietrich and Head Coach Troy Cordingly to be given a chance for an encore with the NLL.