Niagara Gazette


February 1, 2014

Bandits host Toronto Rock tonight

Niagara Gazette — The Buffalo Bandits looked to be well on their way toward a miserable start to the season — a carryover from the debacle that was last season.

They weren’t all that competitive in a season-opening loss to Philadelphia. And in their second game, against the Toronto Rock on Jan. 10 at First Niagara Center, the Bandits scored only twice in the first half and were down four goals.

Then, something changed during halftime.

“We weren’t playing very well the first half of that game against Toronto,” Buffalo forward Ryan Benesch said during a conference call this week. “We just needed to get back in the locker room and all sit down and get back to the game plan. When we stick to the game plan that our coaches lay out for us, we’re a pretty good team.”

Buffalo scored 10 second-half goals to cap off a comeback win that spurred a winning streak. The Bandits haven’t lost since the opener, and have won four straight starting with that rally against Toronto to place them atop the National Lacrosse League’s East Division.

“The first game, we came out kind of sloppy,” said Benesch, who leads the Bandits with 27 points (7+20). “We’ve been playing a lot better as of late. Our defense has really picked it up and (goaltender Anthony Cosmo) is playing unbelievable. The offense is moving the ball a lot better and we’re really starting to jell together.”

Now, Toronto comes back to First Niagara Center at 7:30 p.m. tonight for the second time this month in an attempt to terminate the Bandits’ roll.

To do that, the Rock must solve Cosmo. No team, Toronto included, has been able to the last four games, which has lifted Buffalo to a 4-1 mark, a half-game ahead of Rochester in the East.

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