Niagara Gazette

Sports

February 1, 2013

Bandits renew Toronto rivalry

Niagara Gazette — The Buffalo Bandits have grown quite accustomed to playing close games in which the result is in doubt until the final buzzer this season. If records are any indication, tonight should be no different.

Buffalo (3-1) welcomes to town the Toronto Rock, who currently holds first place in the National Lacrosse League's East Division at a league-best 4-1.The teams will do battle at 7:30 p.m. at the First Niagara Center, as the Bandits can take over the Rock’s spot atop the standings with a win.

Buffalo is riding a three-game winning streak — all 1-goal affairs that were won on late-game goals. Toronto has won two straight after losing to Philadelphia on Jan. 19.

The apparent parity between the two early on this season, coupled with a rivalry that added another chapter in the Rock’s 7-6 win over Buffalo in the East semifinals last postseason could make for another nail-biter.

“The Toronto Rock-Buffalo Bandit rivalry speaks for itself, so it shouldn’t be any different than any of the other time we match up win one another,” said Rock general manager and assistant coach Terry Sanderson during the weekly NLL coaches conference call. “It’s going to be hard fought, and we’re sure that (Bandits head coach) Darris (Kilgour) is going to have his guys ready for us.”

Kilgour said the same thing of Toronto.

“We know they’re going to be prepared, we know it’s going to be a hard-fought game,” Kilgour said.

An added twist to the game is Rock defenseman Chris White’s return to “Banditland.” The former Bandits’ captain signed with Toronto as a free agent this past offseason after spending the previous eight years in Buffalo.

Though the decision to switch teams wasn’t an easy one, the 32-year-old White decided he wanted to play closer to his home in Peterborough, Ontario.

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