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Bandits vs. Colorado: Live from HSBC Arena

   7:15 p.m. -- Feeling like you need a break from the heat wave? HSBC Arena is the place to be. The Bandits and the Mammoth are ready to play, and the building is on the chilly side. (Where's that jacket?) At least the Skyway is open, so the near-capacity crowd doesn't have to worry about that on the way to the game.

   Not too much new for the Bandits' lineup. Jon Harasym is out with the flu. Ian Llord, who sat out last week, is in the lineup. Chris Corbeil, Sean Greenhalgh, Kyle Clancy and Steve Priole are sitting, as Darris Kilgour is relying on experience as the team goes down the stretch.

   You can watch the game on nll.com, as usual. The Sabres are hoping tonight will be a banner evening for them in Montreal, but the Bandits will be happy to pick up the slack for live action back here in Western New York.

    By the way, in Sunday's News, I'll have some thoughts from the NLL's commissioner on the state of the league when it comes to such matters as attendance, expansion, television, and video games.

   7:33 p.m. -- Darris Kilgour has been honored by the Bandits for breaking the league record for career coaching wins. He was given a framed jersey with the number 94, for the number of wins when he set the record. Will they have to give him a new jersey every time he wins a game? (Kidding, just kidding.)

   7:44 p.m. -- We're tied at 1, as Mike Accursi has scored the line goal for Buffalo. The Bandits have done a good job limited shot opportunities by Colorado.

   7:50 p.m. -- The Bandits have hit a few posts in the first quarter, but there hasn't been a great deal of emotion on the floor either. Maybe that's why it is 2-1, Mammoth.

   7:57 p.m. -- Buffalo finishes the first quarter down by a 3-1 count. Three different players have scored for the Mammoth. One of the goals was by Alex Gajic, who came into the game with 35 points and figures to be a strong contender for rookie of the year honors this season.

   8:05 p.m. -- This is starting to get seriousl Gajic's goal from an impossible angle on the side has made it 5-1, Colorado. Kilgour has replaced goalie Mike Thompson with Angus Goodleaf. Thompson hasn't been sharp by any means, but not much has been happening in front of him at times.

   8:11 p.m. -- Funny thing about lacrosse -- sometimes you wonder how a team ever scores, while at other times you wonder how a goalie ever stops a shot? Buffalo is going through a dry spell right now, and that has it down, 6-1, with 7:20 left in the half.

   8:14 p.m. -- Timehonored tradition: when you don't like the tempo, try a fight. Brandon Francis has started that with Colorado's Ryan McFadyen. We'll see how it works.

    8:16 p.m. -- The out-of-town scoreboard here has the Sabres and NCAA scores posted. By the way, Darris Kilgour said this morning he's picking Butler and West Virginia tonight. He is a big North Carolina fan though, so it's not surprising that he's not picking Duke. Kilgour is a big college basketball watcher.

   (And I should mention that having fans in the building has warmed things up a bit. I wouldn't call it toasty yet though.)

   8:22 p.m. -- John Tavares gets the Bandits on the board with the team's first score in about 22 minutes.

   8:29 p.m. -- Bandits trail, 6-3, after 30 minutes of play. 

   8:48 p.m. -- Can't say I've seen this one before. On the opening faceoff, the two sides got tied up for more than 30 seconds. They tried it over again, and finally the ball came loose. Fans ought to get a refund for that minute of play.

   8:53 p.m.  -- Buffalo killed off a Colorado power play in fine style. The best opportunity of the PP went to the Bandits; Darryl Gibson was stopped on a 2-on-1.

   9:04 p.m. -- Kevin Dostie has struck twice within a minute for Buffalo. Both goals were from close range, and both were on the power play. The lead is down to 6-5; we've got ourselves a game finally.

   9:08 p.m. -- At least for a moment. Colorado has responded with two quick goals to make it 8-5 with 2:51 left in the third quarter.

   9:10 p.m. -- Here's a miracle. Goalie Chris Levis deflected a shot behind the net, where Kevin Dostie was circling. Dostie picked off the ball, took a step, jumped over the crease, and stuffed a shot in. It's 8-6, Colorado, on Dostie's hat trick.

   9:20 p.m. -- Mark Steenhuis caught the Mammoth on a break, and converted to cut the lead to 8-7.

   9:27 p.m. -- The Mammoth seems to have weathered the storm. Colorado has scored two straight goals and has taken a 10-7 lead.

   9:37 p.m. -- Colorado leads, 11-7, with three minutes to go.

   9:47 p.m. -- An amazing Buffalo comeback. We're tied at 11 with 7 seconds left.

    9:53 p.m. -- And on into overtime we go. Brett Bucktooth had three goals in the last 86 seconds, while Mark Steenhuis had the other goal to erase the lead.

   9:55 p.m. - Nick Carlson wins it for Colorado.

   11:52 p.m. -- That's a new record for me for a frantic finish -- four goals in the final 86 seconds with the goalie pulled, only to see the Mammoth win it on a breakaway in overtime. This one could have been stolen at the end by the Bandits, but they really didn't deserve to win.

   "I'm glad we didn't quit, but why didn't we show desperation at the start of the game? ... We told the team this was a must-win," coach Darris Kilgour said after the game.

   The Bandits are still tied for third in the playoff race. It makes next week's game with Toronto that much more dramatic ... as if we could stand any more after Saturday night's epic.


--- Budd Bailey

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