4/5/2019 10:45:00 PM / Nick Konotopskyj
After leading for much of the game, the Buffalo Bandits were unable to hold off the Toronto Rock on Friday night, losing 12-11 in overtime on the road. Toronto’s Brandon Slade scored the game-winning goal in OT to drop Buffalo’s record to 12-4 on the season.
Even with the loss, the Bandits are still in a tie for first place in the NLL with the Georgia Swarm with just two games remaining in the regular season. Toronto is now 10-5 on the season and they move to within 1.5 games of Buffalo and Georgia in the standings.
In defeat at Scotiabank Arena, Dhane Smith led the way offensively for the Bandits with seven points (5+2) - his first five-goal performance since 2016 - while Shawn Evans had five points (0+5) and Corey Small had four (2+2). Matt Vinc stopped 40 of 52 shots for the Bandits.
The Bandits scored just 24 seconds into the game when Small tallied on a shot that trickled past Toronto goalie Nick Rose for Small’s 30th of the season.
Johnny Powless tied the game for the Rock with a power play goal halfway through the first quarter to make it 1-1.
Smith and Kevin Brownell scored two straight goals for the Bandits to make it 3-1 late in the quarter. However, Toronto came right back and scored two goals in the last two minutes from Dan Lintner and Rob Hellyer to make it 3-3 going into the second quarter.
The Rock scored its second power play goal of the game when Adam Jones ripped a shot past Vinc. However, Small scored his second goal of the game to make it 4-4.
Hellyer completed the hat trick for the Rock when he scored the next two goals for Toronto to make it 6-4 with 3:37 left in the first half. Toronto took that two-goal lead into the half as they outscored Buffalo 3-1 in that second quarter.
Buffalo came out flying in the second half with goals from Smith, Chris Cloutier and Smith again to give the Bandits a 7-6 lead. All three goals were scored within a one minute and 29 second span. Then, Cloutier scored his second goal of the game on the power play to give Buffalo a two-goal advantage.
It didn’t last for long as the Rock scored the last two goals of the quarter to make it 8-8 with 15 minutes remaining. The Bandits outscored the Rock 4-2 in that third quarter.
Smith scored his fourth and fifth goals of the game in the game’s final quarter and Buffalo regained the lead at 10-9. Steve Priolo gave Buffalo a two-goal lead yet again, but the Rock were able to force overtime with two goals in the final five minutes to force overtime.
Brandon Slade scored the game tying goal in regulation and then he scored the game winning goal in overtime to give the Rock the 12-11 win.
The Bandits will have some time to think this one over as they are off on a bye week next weekend. Their next game will be the final home game of the regular season at 7:30 on Saturday, April 20 against the New England Black Wolves. Buffalo will look to secure at least a top-two seed in the East Division, which would give them a home game to start the postseason.