Niagara Gazette — staff reports
TORONTO — The third quarter of the Buffalo Bandits’ game against the Toronto Rock Friday night resembled the team’s season and play of late.
It just kept bleeding.
Buffalo was outscored 7-0 in the third frame and fell to the Rock, 18-11, at the Air Canada Center.
The loss was the the team’s fifth straight. The Bandits’ midseason implosion began after a win over the Rock in February, but they have yet to win since, falling to last place in the East Division in the process.
The Bandits (5-8) opened the scoring on Glen Bryan’s goal just 2:43 in but surrendered the game’s next four goals. Dhane Smith added a goal in the waning seconds of the quarter and the team escaped down 4-2 after one.
The second quarter was statistically the Bandits’ best of the night. The team outscored the Rock 4-3 and went into the half down 6-5.
That’s when the bleeding started and Toronto took over.
NLL No. 4 scorer Colin Doyle tallied just 18 seconds into the half, and again just under two minutes later to kick off a 9-0 Rock run that would extend into the fourth quarter.
John Tavares’ second goal of the night stopped the run 1:36 into the final frame, but the damage was done. The Rock was up 16-6 at that point.
Smith scored twice, bringing his team-leading total to 20, and registered two assists. Tavares also had two goals and two helpers. Leading scorer Shawn Williams had just two points and has three total in the past two games.
It was the second consecutive game Buffalo had to change its goalie during the game. Starter Anthony Cosmo was pulled just five minutes into the third quarter after giving up 11 goals on 38 shots. Kurtis Wagar allowed six goals on 15 shots in relief.
Doyle had seven points on the night, bringing his season total to 76. League-leading scorer Garrett Billings had a goal and six assists. He has 86 points.