Features | 1/29/2014 11:36:33 AM | Alex Pagliano
| Anthony Cosmo (Photo Credit: Bill Wippert)|
Anthony Cosmo knew that the 2013 season was not up to his standards.
The Buffalo Bandits goaltender had a sub-par season statistically. He finished 4-4 with a career-low .751 save percentage and a career-high 13.37 goals against average.
“I have to prove myself again,” he said. “[I know that] I had a tough season last year, but this season, I am working harder away from the floor to improve.”
To prepare for his third season with the Bandits, the 14-year veteran put in extra time away from the floor this offseason to work on his quickness – a decision that, he says, is paying dividends for him early on in the 2014 season.
Cosmo has bounced back with a 4-0 record through five games has made a League-high 213 saves on 266 shots. His save percentage is currently .801, third best among goaltenders who have played at least 150 minutes.
“I’m feeling good,” he said. “I’m working out in the offseason off of the floor and in the gym, and that’s been helpful for me.”
Cosmo struggled with the team in a season-opening loss at home to the Philadelphia Wings. He was bombarded with shots before ultimately being replaced by backup Kurtis Wagar for the 16th time in the past two years. Fans were concerned, but Bandits coach Troy Cordingley never was.
“I have 100 percent confidence in Cosmo,” Cordingley said. “The process of blaming the goaltender becomes so easy after a loss, but we have to look at ourselves, as a team.”
Redemption came later as Cosmo started on Jan. 10 against Toronto. Cosmo stopped 52 of 62 shots as Buffalo defeated Toronto 12-10. After the game, Cordingley awarded Cosmo the team’s player of the game award – “212 Hard Hat” – for his performance.
“I have been working on my confidence,” Cosmo said. “I need confidence to be out on the floor, to feel the ball, to be prepared. When the defense keeps shots to the outside, I get to make some easy saves. And, when the hard saves come, you have that confidence to make them.”
His confidence carried over into the game that Sunday. Cosmo helped the Bandits defeat the Wings in Philadelphia.
Cosmo continued to anchor the back end, defeating Colorado on the road, but his play perhaps proved most valuable last Saturday when the Bandits hung on to defeat the Rochester Knighthawks at First Niagara Center. That win propelled Buffalo into first place in the NLL East.
“Credit again to my defense,” Cosmo said. “They forced tough shots and kept the ball to the outside.”
Cosmo made numerous point-blank saves early and then made enough saves in the waning moments of the game to preserve a one-goal Bandits lead. Cosmo fared better than the League’s statistical best goalie, Matt Vinc, who was pulled after giving up 10 goals on 35 shots.
“I’m just feeling good right now, I guess,” Cosmo said.
But, despite early success, Cosmo knows that the season is a marathon, not a sprint.
“[We need to] continue to build on our success,” he said. “If our defense continues to push the ball and force outside shots, we’ll be successful.”
Cosmo and the Bandits look to remain red-hot this weekend as the team hosts the Toronto Rock on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.