The Buffalo Bandits are in action tonight against the Calgary Roughnecks at 9 pm. They have an opportunity to win 3 straight tonight for the first time all year, they won the first 2 games of the season but then went on a 6 game losing streak. The Bandits have started playing a lot better the last 2 weeks. It seems like they finally looked at the standings and realized that they weren’t going to make the playoffs unless something changed. Johnny Tavares recorded his 1,600th point last week in a win against the Minnesota Swarm in front of nearly 17,000 fans in Banditland. Tavares become the first player in the NLL to get to hit that magic number, they announced it after he assisted on Luke Wiles goal and he got a very long standing ovation from the crowd. They then went to a commercial break and almost all of the Minnesota Swarm players and coaching staff came off the bench and congratulated the best player to have ever played the game. At the end of the night the Bandits had their second straight win of the weekend and the 42 year old Tavares had 3 goals and an assist, and of course was the player of the game.
The Bandits enter tonight’s game 4-6 on the season, third in the East division, and 2.5 games back of the Philadelphia Wings for the division lead. Tonight’s opponent the Calgary Roughnecks (7-3) can clinch a playoff spot with a win tonight, the team has great goal-tending with Mike Poulin who is tied for second in the league with 6 wins and 331 saves on the season. They also have the NLL All-Star MVP on their team…Geoff Snider knows how to score goals from just about anywhere on the field. The Bandits are not hurting with scorers either the afore mentioned Tavares is leading the team in points followed by Wiles, Chad Culp, and Mark Steenhuis. If these guys are half as good as they were in their back to back wins last weekend they should be able to keep pace with the Roughnecks. Coach Kilgore has been splitting time between goalies Anthony Cosmo and Mikey Thompson, Thompson played at home last Saturday and Cosmo on Friday. I have not heard yet who will be in goal tonight, but with this being such a big game for Buffalo my guess would be Thompson in net. A loss wouldn’t kill this team but it would definitely kill the momentum they have been riding these past few games. They would like to come back to Banditland next Saturday with a 5-6 record and a chance at getting back to .500 on the season. There are only 16 games in the regular season and with 9 teams currently in the NLL, only 1 team will not make the playoffs and the Bandits are hoping they are not that team.
The game will start at 9 pm Eastern time and if you would like to watch the game you can, on NLL.com, it’s free! Let’s Go Bandits!