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NLL All-Star Game in Verona

1:45 p.m. -- Hello from The Turning Stone Event Center in Verona. The East is ready to play the West in the NLL All-Star Game.

This is the first team sport event ever held in this facility. It usually is the setting for concerts and boxing matches. The facility is said to hold 2,600 for lacrosse. There aren't many bad seats, but it sure doesn't look like they are all filled with only 15 minutes to game time.

The game is played under the shadow of problems in Calgary, where the franchise needs $500,000 to finish the season. I talked with Commissioner George Daniel, and he said the league is working furiously to find some sort of short-term solution. When I asked whether a mid-season team folding was a commissioner's worst nightmare, he replied, "It is." I'll have the complete interview in my notebook in Monday's Buffalo News.

All of the Bandits' players who were scheduled to be here have turned up -- John Tavares, Mark Steenhuis, Brett Bucktooth and Chris White. Brandon Francis also was at a player reception Saturday night, although he's not suiting up.

2:01 p.m. -- Brett Bucktooth received the biggest ovation when the players were introduced. He's not only an Oneida, but he played at Syracuse University. Indeed, there are several Syracuse players here for the game.

2:12 p.m. -- After only four minutes of play, it sure looks like an All-Star Game. We're 3-2, West. Bucktooth has a goal.

2:14 p.m. -- Mark Steenhuis has a goal for the East . It's now 4-4 with 4:53 gone. I don't know who the MVP will be, but I know it won't be a goalie.

2:20 p.m. -- We haven't had a goal in a minute. Fans may ask for a refund soon.

2:21 p.m. -- Two quick goals, including one by Tavares, change that. It's 5-5 with 7:40 left. I think we have had 10 different goal scorers.

2:27 p.m. -- Steenhuis' second goal of the game was a unique breakaway. He came in alone, faked high, and then rolled the ball into the net. It's 8-5, East.

2:35 p.m. -- The East has a 9-6 lead after 15 minutes. Luke Wiles of Washington is the goal-scoring leader of the game with three. It's amazing how good these guys can be with the ball; we've seen all sorts of moves and shots.

2:44 p.m. -- The pace of this game is rather impressive. It's been up and down the floor, without much defense going on. You might call it "basket hanging" in another sport. The East has a 10-8 lead with 9:40 left in the second quarter.

2:54 p.m. -- Looks like the two sides are catching a breather here. It's 12-11, East, with 4:13 to go in the half.

3:02 p.m. -- We're done with a half -- it's 12-12.

3:24 p.m. -- New goalies, but same results. Mark Steenhuis has his third of the game, and the East is up one, 14-13. The Bandits probably have more fans than any other team here. Rochester is second, and Philadelphia probably is third. No sign of Toronto fans. Did see a Minnesota Swarm sweatshirt on someone at halftime.

3:36 p.m. -- The goaltending actually hasn't been that bad ... under the circumstances. The score could be highter than the current 17-16 East lead.

3:49 P.M. -- It's 20-20 after three quarters. I have a feeling that this one is going down to the wire.

3:56 P.M. -- Chris White of the Bandits picked up the game's first penalty, a cross-checking call with the East up two. I think he just wanted to get on the scoresheet.

4:08 p.m. -- The West finally picked up a penalty, for illegal substitution. The Bandits' fans here were happy to change B-O-X with the score tied at 25.

4:15 p.m. -- The East is up, 27-25, with three minutes to go. Brett Bucktooth has five points for the East.

4:17 p.m. -- Mark Steenhuis' fifth goal may have wrapped it up for the East at 29-25 with 1:22 left.

4:20 p.m. -- The East wins, 30-26, sending the crowd home happy.

--- Budd Bailey


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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.