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  • Andrew Mullane

No Bryne, No Problem

By: Andrew Mullane


Buffalo NY--- The Eastern Conference 1 seed Buffalo Bandits took on the 4 seed Colorado Mammoth in Game 1 of the NLL Finals on Saturday May 27. The Bandits came out victorious 13 - 12. This years finals match up is a rematch of the 2022 NLL Finals where Colorado came out on top in a best of three series. The buzz around this game would not disappoint as the Buffalo Bandits had a "party in the plaza" to get the home fans going from the time they arrived. In front of a sellout crowd the Bandits ultimately took game 1, and now the Bandits/Mammoth look to bounce back in Game 2 on Memorial day May 29, 2023 4:00 PM EDT.


(photo credit M Hetzel)

The first quarter of play would start with Dhane Smith scoring on the first shot of the game giving Buffalo a 1-0 lead. Dhane Smith came right back down the felid and put the ball in the net again to make the score 2-0 Buffalo. Chase Fraser scored a goal that needed Coach Tavares to throw the challenge flag, but after a short review the Bandits went up 3-0. The Mammoth took a slashing penalty and Dhane Smith made the Mammoth pay as he got his hat-trick and put the bandits up 4-0 halfway in the first quarter. The Mammoth's Evan Downey would get the Mammoth on the board off a nice shot to make the score 4-1 Bandits. RIT alum Ryan Lee whipped a shot and beat Matt Vinc to make the score 4-2 Buffalo. Two quick goals from Colorado got them back in the game. Dhane Smith came right back down the floor and scored his fourth of the night giving Buffalo a 5-2 lead. Zed Williams scored off a tough shot beating Vinc to cut the Bandits lead to 5-3. Eli McLaughlin of the Mammoth would score with 2 seconds left to make the score 5-4.


The second quarter of play would start with Ian Mackey putting the Bandits up 6-4 off deking like a basketball layup looking shot. The Mammoth's Tyson Gibson sent a razor of a shot to make the score 6-5 Bandits. The Mammoth would strike on the power play and tied the game at 6 a piece. Chase Fraser shot and scored but Colorado would challenge and win leaving the game tied at 6. Tyson Gibson scored his second to give the Mammoth their first lead of the night 7-6. Brad McCulley got checked as he scored to tie the game at 7 a piece. Ryan Lee's second would put the Mammoth up 8-7 taking their first lead of the night.

(photo credit M Hetzel)

Down by One at halftime after starting the game 4-0 Coach Tavares said "Its a situation I expected to be in at halftime, and I said we can't be satisfied we gotta stay confident cause our team likes to win and like I said we have to be willing to win by 1 it doesn’t matter if you win by five or 1 it’s the same result."



The third quarter would start with Tehoka Nanticoke scoring to tie the game for the Bandits at 8. Chase Fraser's second goal a short handed one to make the score 9-8 Buffalo. Dhane Smith scored his fifth of the night to give Buffalo a 10-8 lead. Tehoka Nanticoke scored again for the Bandits to put them up 10-8. Eli Mclaughlin put the ball in the back of the net for Colorado cutting Buffalo's lead to 11-9. Tehoka Nanticoke fired a shot later on and beat Ward giving him a hat-trick putting the Bandits up 12-9.




The fourth quarter started with Colorado's Zed Williams cutting the Bandits lead by 2 12-10. Chase Fraser extended Buffalo's lead to make the score 13-10. Chris Wardle of the mammoth fired a shot and scored to make the score 13-11 Bandits. Eli McLaughlin scored a big 12 goal for the mammoth cutting the Bandits lead to 1. The game ended shorty after that. After the game Tehoka Nanticoke mentioned Banditland and how it reminded him of being a kid. "Unreal, No words to describe this place, a dream come true I remember this moment shooting around the backyard wearing Coach John Tavares jersey on my back it's amazing there's no words for it, I'm excited and ready to roll"


(photo credit M Hetzel)

Game 2 of the NLL Finals will be played on Monday, May 29 2023.




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