Bandits beat Rock to advance to NLL Cup Finals

Buffalo wins 12-8; Moves on to face Calgary in the Finals

Dave Buchanan
May 11, 2019 - 11:45 pm

Photo: Dave Buchanan (@FastTrack550)

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The Buffalo Bandits are returning to the NLL Cup Finals for the first time since 2016 as they defeated the Toronto Rock 12-8 on Saturday night at the KeyBank Center in the NLL East Division Final. 

Buffalo secured the victory thanks to a four-goal run in the fourth quarter, highlighted by a pair of goals from Chase Fraser. That run ended a four-goal streak by Toronto that had allowed the Rock to close within a goal 8-7 early in the final stanza. 

Fraser was one of eight goal scorers for the Bandits. It marks the second-straight postseason game that Buffalo had eight players find the back of the net. Corey Small led the Bandits with a hat-trick. Fraser and Shawn Evans both scored twice. Dhane Smith had a five point night with a goal and four assists. Matt Vinc was lights out in net once again with 43 saves on 51 shots faced.

The game opened with four quick goals within the first five minutes to make the score 2-2. Things settled down after that as neither team could score for a span of about 18 minutes until Challen Rogers gave Toronto the lead halfway through the second quarter. The Bandits responded by scoring the next six goals to take an 8-3 lead, which they did not relinquish despite Toronto's best efforts. 

The Bandits will face the Calgary Roughnecks in the best-of-three NLL Cup Finals. It is a rematch of the 2004 Final when the Roughnecks beat the Bandits in Calgary 14-11 in a single elimination game. Calgary advanced to the Finals by defeating the Colorado Mammoth 8-4 on Friday night in the West Division Final. 

Game 1 of the series will be Saturday, May 18 in Buffalo at 7:30 p.m. The series heads to Calgary on Saturday, May 25 for Game 2. Game 3 will be in Buffalo on Friday, May 31 should the series go the distance. 

This is the Bandits' 10th appearance in the NLL Cup Finals with a 4-5 record in the championship round. They lost to Saskatchewan in 2016 after being swept in two games. Their last championship came in 2008 when they beat the Portland LumberJax in a single elimination format. 

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