The Buffalo Bandits (5-5) suffered another difficult loss on Saturday night, this time at the hands of the Colorado Mammoth (3-7). The Bandits were outscored 8-2 in the second half in a 12-6 loss in the first half of a home-and-home series with the Mammoth. The Bandits have lost their last four games at home.
“We quit working. We quit working offensively. We quit working defensively. It’s unacceptable,” Bandits head coach Darris Kilgour said. “I don’t know what’s been going on these last few games at home.”
The game started out well for the Bandits. Forward Jamie Rooney tallied 3 and a half minutes into his Bandits debut to give the Bandits an early lead. Thanks to goals by Dhane Smith and Jimmy Purves, the Bandits would carry a 3-0 lead into the second quarter.
The second quarter was scoreless until Mammoth forward Adam Jones broke the silence to make the score 3-1. The Mammoth scored two more unanswered goals to tie the game at three. The half would end 4-4 as Mark Steenhuis and Mat MacLeod traded goals for their respective teams.
The Bandits looked ready to seize control, as Dhane Smith tallied his second goal 55 seconds into the third quarter and Nick Cotter added another goal to give the Bandits a 6-4 lead. Those goals, however, would be the last goals for the Bandits in the entire game.
“It was an off night for the offense for sure,” Dhane Smith said. “I think it was just an off game for us. We obviously have those once or twice a year and it sucks that it happened tonight.”
About seven minutes after Cotter’s goal, Mammoth forward Jordan McBride tallied his first of the game to bring the score within one. Jamie Lincoln scored on a breakaway to tie the game at six heading into the final stanza. McBride scored at the 1:34 mark and the 8:36 mark of the fourth quarter to complete a hat trick and help the Mammoth begin to pull away with an 8-6 lead.
“McBride is coming into his own,” Mammoth head coach Bob Hamley said. “The lefties are getting him the ball. He’s finally getting into a groove.”
The nightmare continued for the Bandits as the fourth quarter went along. The Mammoth scored four more goals and the Bandits were shut out in the quarter. This game marks just the second time this season the Bandits were shutout in any quarter of regulation play, and it is the first time it has happened in the fourth quarter.
With 30 seconds left in the game and the an insurmountable six-goal lead, Hamley called a timeout. It was a gesture that the Bandits did not take too kindly too.
“Our guy was in trouble, and there was three guys converging on him when he had the ball. I called timeout to try to save him from getting shellacked. They took the other way, I think,” Hamley said of the timeout.
The tension finally boiled over coming out of the timeout, and players began squaring off. Eventually, all ten runners on the floor were tangled up with each other and the benches were exchanging words.
“I think that was a little bit of frustration on our side,” Bandits defender Scott Self said of the end of the game. “We kind of let things slip away. It was pretty spontaneous.”
The bad news continued post-game for the Bandits, as head coach Darris Kilgour revealed that recent transition player of the week Jay Thorimbert was hurt and received an x-ray on his leg. Although he could not specify the injury, Kilgour said he does not expect Thorimbert to be ready for next week’s rematch against the Mammoth.
The one bright spot for the Bandits was the play of goaltender Anthony Cosmo. He played perhaps one of his best games of the season, turning away 48 of the Mammoth’s 60 shots, including all 13 shots he faced in the first quarter, and 28 of 32 shots he faced in the first half.
The Bandits and Mammoth will conclude the home-and-home series next Saturday, March 15 in at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Game time is set for 7 PM MST (9 PM EST).
“Darris lost at home, and will be fired up and will have his guys ready for next week,” Hamley said.
“I’m not sure what it is, to be honest,” Scott Self said. “After a game like that it’s good to get back on floor as soon as possible. We’ve had some success on the road and maybe that’s what we need is a little bit of a road trip.”