Bandits Win NLL Final
By: Andrew Mullane
Buffalo NY--- The Eastern Conference 1 seed Buffalo Bandits took on the 4 seed Colorado Mammoth in Game 3 of the NLL Finals on Saturday June 3. The Bandits came out victorious 13-4. The first game the Bandits won 13-12. Game 2 the Mammoth won 16-10 forcing a Game 3. The buzz around this game did not disappoint as the Buffalo Bandits had a "party in the plaza" again to get the home fans going from the time they arrived. In front of a sellout crowd the Bandits ultimately took game 3, and now the Bandits are the 2023 NLL Champions. Announced earlier today Josh Byrne is making his return, coming off a concussion suffered in the Eastern Conference Finals. A huge comeback for the Bandits adding even more fire to Buffalo's powerhouse offense.
The first quarter of play started with Tehoka Nanticoke sending the Buffalo crowd into a frenzy with a shot right at Dillion Ward's feet to give the Bandits a 1-0 lead. Conner Robinson a couple minutes later scored and beat Matt Vinc 1-1. Through the Second media timeout plenty of big saves occured Josh Byrne made it known he was back firing a goal from the restraining line as time expired.
The second quarter of play Chase Fraser lit the lamp and gave Dillion Ward a stare down 3-1! Chase Fraser was not done scoring he put the ball in the back of the net late in the second quarter again. Eli McLaughlin on the power play scored for the mammoth barely beating Matt Vinc.
The third quarter started with Josh Byrne beating Dillion Ward yet again 5-2 Buffalo. Josh Byrne proved to be too much for Dillion Ward to handle as he ripped a shot and scored 6-2 Buffalo. Eli McLaughlin late in the third quarter beat Matt Vinc again 6-3 Buffalo. Josh Byrne absolutely had Dillion Ward's number as he easily beat him with a goal 7-3 Buffalo. Dhane Smith's first goal of the game was a beauty of a shot 8-3 Buffalo.
The fourth quarter of play saw Dhane Smith scoring on the power play after a dirty play by Zed Williams. The mammoth's Chris Wardle scored around the 11 minute mark 9-4 Buffalo. Buffalo's Matt Spanger burned Ward and extended the Buffalo lead 10-4. Brad McCulley joined in on the scoring action for the Bandits 11-4. Max Adler Buffalo's face-off guy scored his first all year 12-4 Buffalo! Dhane Smith second of the game slammed one home extending Buffalo's lead 13-4.
After the game Coach Tavares talked about the biggest difference from Game 2 "Not giving them open looks underneath into our net and we just made an adjustment and it seemed to work." Buffalo will now look to defend their 2023 NLL Finals win next season.