Late bandits cling to rock sweep, advancing to the appearance of the second straight finals

The Buffalo Bandits held late to win the Eastern Conference Finals over the Toronto Rock, and swept the series 2-0. In what we’ve come to expect from these two teams, it was a fight all the way to the last bell, quite literally.

From the opening confrontation, the game will feature husks and a lot of energy. From the first goal, a raucous play from Kyle Buchanan that reaped a bounce in traffic to beat Nick Rose, fans knew it would be a back-and-forth affair with opportunities coming at a premium.

Compared to Game 1, which ended with the Finals 18-17 in favor of the Thieves, the defense and goalkeepers made huge improvements and reduced the number of rounds for both teams. Teams will unite for more than 20 prohibited shots and 20 caused turnovers during the game.

By the first half, the game was in favor of the thieves with a score of 3-2, compared to 10-8 in the first game. Both goalkeepers, near the top of the league in the regular season, excluding percentage and goals allowed, had more than 20 saves. in half. Both offenders with all their weapons would still be out of the way even with some good scoring chances. Much of this was in part down to aggressive defensive play from both sides and getting into the hands of the bowlers.

The second half was a little different. Tom Schreiber would have his first night out on the outside while jogging, to tie the match in the third. Far from the next showdown, Chris Cloutier was dunking and dunking a goal to re-establish the lead for the bandits. The Rock tied the match up again a few minutes later as Latrell Harris ran along the floor in the transition, firing the ball into Josh Goppenville, who rebounded to pass Matt Vince on the run.

The Rock will find itself in trouble for the remainder of the third quarter.

Mitch de Snoo was called up for a Chase Fraser penalty and Bandits’ offense seized his manhood opportunity after just 10 seconds of powerplay with a goal from Dhane Smith, his first of the night. After The Rock took a shot at the transition, the thieves quickly delivered on the floor to the waiting Kyle Buchanan and were summoned for an illegal substitution to give the thieves their third turn on the force in that period. Chris Cloutier was scoring quickly in the powerplay to give the Thieves a two-goal lead in the fourth quarter.

The last frame is when the offenses increased in pace, likely due to some tired defenders slowing both attacks during the first 45 minutes. There could also have been some desperation from The Rock as the thieves were trying to finish the game so they wouldn’t have to play a third and decisive match.

Tom Schreiber would start scoring 49 seconds into the frame with a patented low-to-high shot that beat Matt Vince.

Buffalo was continuing his longest run of the game, scoring three goals in a row from Dan Smith, Chase Fraser and Josh Byrne and extending their lead to the biggest score of the match at four minutes with just under seven minutes remaining.

Believers of the Rock will be back, their team, on their own tour.

Rob Heller will hit his first goal of the night and it was just in time having immediately knocked out the bandit’s last goal. A heavy tube shot bounced off Vince’s rear and fell into the net. Dan Craig would have followed Heller’s goal with a dip and a dip across the crease to make it two goals after just 19 seconds. Not to be outdone, Helllyer was answering Craig’s goal in a similar fashion with a jumping effort to beat Vince after 29 seconds.

How fast the tides can turn in NLL as Toronto will score three points in a row within 57 seconds of game time to get right back into it.

The thieves were regrouping and adding a crucial securing goal with a corner pocket kick from Chase Fraser with three and a half remaining.

Toronto will call a timeout with 1:23 left to draw a play and take advantage of the extra man advantage by pulling Rose. After a few good looks, including a shot off the post, Tom Schreiber was scoring to bring The Rock inside one with less than a minute left.

The Rock would win the next showdown to gain a crucial possession late in the game. After a handful of shots, the thieves grabbed the loose ball but a couple of rockers would help make a spin to give possession to Dan Craig. Craig was taking her to the net with a clean look but Vince would get enough of the ball to stop her from going in. The rock will bounce before about three seconds left.

After a heavy wind by Challen Rogers with three bandit defenders trying to block the shot, he passed the ball back to Craig at the crease sill, made a quick shot off the stick and passed the ball to Vinc as the time expired.

As Rock City was pleased to see the ball go into the net, Bandits coach John Tavares immediately pointed to the scoreboard. After review, it was determined that the ball crossed the goal line after the bell, much to the chagrin of The Rock, who fought valiantly to get back into the game and try to force Game 3.

Matt Vince took home the first superstar title after putting in enough effort to give the Thieves the win, saving 42 from 51 shots that night. In his post-match interview when asked how long they would celebrate before looking forward to the final, Vince said he was already thinking about it.

For the bandits, this is their second consecutive NFL Finals appearance which occurred in the 2018-19 season. As the top seed heads into that series, he could lose to the Calgary Roughnecks in two games. The last franchise championship returned in 2008 as she defeated Portland LumberJax 14-13.

They’ll need to wait to see who their opponent is, either the San Diego Seals that have not made the finals in the history of their franchises or the Colorado Mammoth who defeated the bandits in the 2006 championship, a single playoff match. Since the mammoth moved to Colorado in 2002.

Game 1 of the NFL Finals will take place in Buffalo regardless of opponent on Saturday, June 4th at 7:30 p.m. ET in what we hope will be a win for the bandits fans after losing in the 2019 Finals.

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