Niagara Gazette — The Buffalo Bandits barely got into the playoffs as the team went into a slide during the second half of their National Lacrosse League regular season. They picked the right time to end that slump and did so on the road against one of their regional rivals.
The Bandits defeated the Toronto Rock, 15-13, at Air Canada Centre on Saturday night, advancing to the NLL East final next weekend at home against the Rochester Knighthawks.
Veteran John Tavares scored a late power play goal that kept the Rock, who got within one goal of tying the game, from catching Buffalo.
Ryan Benesch scored seven of the Bandits’ goals, including one that tied the game at 10-10. Buffalo did not trail at the end of any quarter, leading 4-2 at the end of the first and then led 8-7 at halftime. The Rock and Bandits tied at 10-10 after three quarters, but Tavares scored the go-ahead goal in the fourth.
The Bandits got some help along the way when a goal by Dhane Smith, first overruled on the field, was confirmed upon further review thus overturning the referee’s ruling. Replay also helped the Bandits by affirming the Benesch goal which tied the game at 10-10 late in the third.
Tickets for next Saturday’s game against Rochester, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at the First Niagara Center, are on sale today.