News | 5/2/2009 3:47:11 PM | Erin Pollina
The Buffalo Bandits will be sporting their playoff mohawks for at least another week.
Solidifying an 11-8 win against the Boston Blazers on Saturday night at HSBC Arena, the Bandits advanced to the East Finals in New York against the Titans - one step closer to claiming the Champion's Cup for a second consecutive season.
BOXSCORE: BOS 8, BUF 11
VIDEO: Darris Kilgour
VIDEO: Ken Montour
VIDEO: Mark Steenhuis
VIDEO: Game Highlights
"The defense played great for four quarters finally and the offense scored some timely goals. That's two things that haven't happened in the second half of the season, so hopefully we're back on track," Head Coach Darris Kilgour said.
The Blazers drew first blood less than two minutes into the game with the extra attacker when Brenden Thenhaus went backdoor on netminder Ken Montour.
It was the only time the Bandits would trail in the contest.
Cory Bomberry responded less than a minute later, snapping a shot from the slot to tie the game at 1-1 and Mark Steenhuis helped Buffalo gain the lead with a diving shot in front of the crease, 7:15 into the first quarter.
The Bandits never looked back.
Kyle Schmelzle registered his first career playoff goal seconds later with the aid of Billy Dee Smith, who sent a deep pass to the forward from the defensive zone. Steenhuis then added his second score of the night to extend the lead to 4-1 in favor of the Bandits.
The Blazers rallied to tie the game, a continuing trend in the contest, but it was not enough to overcome the defense of Montour who stopped 47 of 55 shots.
"Kenny has just been solid all season long," Head Coach Darris Kilgour said. "I don't know if I've seen a goalie as hot as he is for as long as he's been... It's amazing how many times he's done that this year."
He was tested early and often, being called on to preserve the lead as the Blazers tied the game three separate times.
After Buffalo regained the lead, 6-4, with goals from Sean Greenhalgh and John Tavares, Boston's Veltman and Matt Lyons again tied it up at 6-6.
This time it was Mike Accursi who took it back for the Bandits, scoring five-hole on netminder Anthony Cosmo.
The lone goal of the third quarter was scored by Veltman, locking up the score yet again, 7-7.
"You've got to give their defense a lot of credit," Steenhuis said. "When you put no points on the board for an entire quarter you have to tip your hat to them."
The Bandits did not retaliate until the final frame with Tavares and Steenhuis netting goals just over a minute apart to widen the gap to 9-7.
Boston's Gary Bining brought the Blazers within one, but Steenhuis would again play hero and provide the Bandits with their 10th point of the night, and his fourth of the game.
Tom Montour tallied the final goal with less than a minute remaining in regulation for an 11-8 score.
"It was a character win for sure," Ken Montour said. "We needed everybody, all 18 players to come through. That was big."
"But I think this team is veteran enough to know that the season is not over," Kilgour said. "That's just one out of three we need to win... our focus is on the Championship."
NOTES: The winning 50/50 raffle ticket number was 00352127 for $6,075... attendance was announced at 13,343