Toronto Hands Buffalo Fifth Straight Loss
from press release
TORONTO - The Toronto Rock (9-4) became the first NLL team to reach nine wins and handed the visiting Buffalo Bandits (5-8) their fifth-straight loss with an 18-11 victory before a crowd of 11,546 at Air Canada Centre on Friday night.
The Bandits opened the scoring 2:43 into the first quarter for their only lead of the game as the Rock scored four unanswered goals to eventually take a 4-2 lead into the second quarter. Buffalo got back in it with a last-second goal by Shawn Williams with the extra attacker to cut the deficit to 7-6 at halftime.
Toronto outscored Buffalo 7-0 in the third quarter, including five goals in a 5:56 span to start the quarter, for a 14-6 lead after 45 minutes of play. The Rock then sealed it with two more goals in the first 1:22 of the fourth quarter for a 10-goal lead and they cruised the rest of the way.
Kasey Beirnes scored a game-high four goals, captain Colin Doyle (3+4) and Garrett Billings (1+6) both had a team-high seven points, Stephan Leblanc added five points (2+3), and Rob Hellyer scored a hat trick.
John Tavares (2+2) and rookie Dhane Smith (2+2) led the Bandits with four points each, Glen Bryan was the only other player to score twice for Buffalom and Jay Thorimbert had 18 loose balls in the losing effort.
Special teams made a difference as the Rock went 4-for-9 while the Bandits went just 1-for-4 with the man advantage.
Rock goalie Nick Rose made 31 saves on 41 shots before backup Zack Boychuk came on in relief with three saves on four shots. Bandits goalie Anthony Cosmo allowed 11 goals on 38 shots before being pulled in favor of Kurtis Wagar, who made just eight stops on 15 shots.
The Rock inched closer to a home playoff game, which they can clinch by beating the Rochester Knighthawks (4-6) on the road tomorrow night.