GAME PREVIEW: Rock vs. Bandits
Toronto has lost both games in Buffalo this season by a score of 12-10.
Game Preview: Toronto Rock (7-9) vs. Buffalo Bandits (8-7)
Saturday, April 18th, 2014
Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON
Toronto Rock Head Coach John Lovell called it an “emotional” win as the Rock were able to celebrate clinching a playoff spot in front of the home crowd last week at Air Canada Centre, topping the Philadelphia Wings 10-9. Goalie Brandon Miller, who was acquired from the Wings earlier in the season to shut the door, did just that stopping 32 of 34 shots in the second half. Rob Hellyer continued to have a hot hand potting 3G-5A-8PTS in the win.
This game has major playoff implications as the Rock will play the Bandits in the first round of the NLL playoffs and home turf is still undecided. The Rock have two games remaining including tonight’s matchup, while the Bandits have three. Toronto will fly to Minnesota to take on the Swarm next week to finish out their regular season, while the Bandits will play a home and home with the East leading Rochester Knighthawks over the next two Saturdays. If Toronto wins their remaining games and the Bandits lose their remaining games, the Rock will host the Bandits in the East semi final at Air Canada Centre. However, any Rock loss or Bandits win and the Rock will travel to Buffalo to open the playoffs.
The Rock have played the Buffalo Bandits a total of 41 times and hold an all-time record of 22-19. The visiting team however holds the edge, as the Rock are 8-10 at home and 14-9 on the road against the Bandits.
F Garett Billings (Knee – Out For Season)
D Chris White (Foot)
The Rock will take on the Buffalo Bandits to round out their regular season home schedule. The Bandits started hot out of the gate this season, winning 8 of their first 10. Buffalo has struggled though as of late and is currently riding a 5 game losing streak into their matchup with Toronto.
The teams have met two times already this season with Buffalo securing the season series win, taking the opener on January 10th and the rematch on February 1st, both by a score of 12-10. Last week the Bandits lost to the Minnesota Swarm 10-9.
Ryan Benesch leads the Bandits in assists with 41 and points with 61. Mark Steenhuis leads the team in goals with 26.
Jay Thorimbert is amongst the league leaders in loose balls and Steve Priolo is one of the league’s top defenders and transition players.
Between The Pipes:
Anthony Cosmo has a record of 8-6 on the season with a save percentage of .804 and a Goals Against Average of 10.60.
Who To Watch:
Benesch, Steenhuis and Dhane Smith are the big 3 on offence, with veterans John Tavares, Shawn Williams and Aaron Wilson still contributing.