Photo: Dave Buchanan

Bandits lose to Rush 17-14

Fourth quarter rally not enough the best defending champs

April 02, 2017 - 6:43 pm

Dave Buchanan reporting

The Buffalo Bandits lost to the Saskatchewan Rush 17-14 on Saturday night at the KeyBank Center in a rematch of last year's National Lacrosse League Champions Cup Final. 

Once again, the Bandits spent most of the game playing from behind after they opened the scoring with two quick goals from Dhane Smith and Ryan Benesch before the two minute mark of the first quarter. The Rush responded with four goals in a span of 1:57 and did not relinquish the lead from that point on.

"They're a very good team. I thought defensively we were mediocre today and they exposed a few things we talked about and went over," said Troy Cordingley. "We didn't quit, we battled, we just couldn't close the gap."

Buffalo rallied in the fourth quarter to get within a goal with less than eight minutes left in regulation, but the high-powered offense of the Rush kept the lead in hand. 

Dhane Smith led the Bandits with three goals and four assists. Ryan Benesch, Nick Weiss and Craig England all scored twice. 

Mark Matthews led the Rush with nine points (2G, 7A). Canisius grad Adam Jones and 2016 first overall draft pick Ryan Keenan each recorded a hat trick. 

Buffalo is a game behind New England for the final playoff spot in the NLL East with the Black Wolves hosting Toronto on Sunday.The Bandits travel to Calgary next week to face the Roughnecks on Saturday night.

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