Niagara Gazette — In the midst of a three-game losing skid, the Buffalo Bandits have not been playing playoff-caliber lacrosse of late.
On the opposite end, the Edmonton Rush have won three in a row.
Those streaks collide when the Bandits host the Rush at 7:30 tonight at First Niagara Center.
The Bandits (5-6) are coming off a pair of losses to Colorado in which they gave up 29 goals, including seven on the power play. Assistant coach Rich Kilgour said that they need to be better on special teams if they plan on competing with the Edmonton (6-5).
"When we take penalties, it ruins the flow to everything," he said. "It gets bogged down to playing the same four guys on offense, the same four guys on defense. The big thing for us is discipline, stay out of the box."
Kilgour also noted that a sense of urgency has escaped the Bandits in recent weeks. With just five games left in the regular season, establishing that side of their game is important.
"Last week, Colorado came out and was desperate," Kilgour said. "We played like we were just hoping to hang on. Now, hopefully we can be the desperate team."
The Rush bested the Bandits in the teams' only meeting last season. That team has added several news faces, including Mark Matthews, the first overall selection in the 2012 NLL Entry Draft.
Matthews, ranked second on the team in points behind Ryan Ward, has been one of Edmonton's top players. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound forward is 12th in the league in scoring and first among rookies. He has 31 goals and 20 assists in 11 games.
"He's a buy-in guy," Rush coach Derek Keenan said. "He's going to buy into the system and he works well with others. He shoots the ball extremely hard and accurate and he is a good playmaker too. Needless to say, he's been real good for us."