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Bandits vs. Blazers: Live from HSBC Arena

7:28 p.m. -- Second place in the National Lacrosse League's East Division is again at stake tonight. This time it's the Buffalo Bandits with the half-game lead on the Boston Blazers, earned last week in Boston when the Bandits took a 9-8 decision. The Blazers will try to get a road win of their own tonight.

The Buffalo lineup looks similar to last week. Tracey Kelusky was said to be bothered by the flu, but he is playing tonight. Kyle Clancy, Ben McCullough and Darryl Gibson are the scratches.

7:41 p.m. -- By the way, this game is on Versus, but it won't be shown until a week from tomorrow. Therefore, if you don't want to know what happens so that you can watch the game fresh, you might want to avoid ... ah, forget it. We are tied at 1-1 with 4:14 gone in the first.

7:45 p.m. -- Mike Thompson already has made some good saves in the first 6:19 of play. He's been on a great run over the last few weeks, and was an obvious choice for NLL overall player of the week last week.

7:52 p.m. -- Looks like a pretty good crowd tonight, perhaps the second-biggest of the season (17K and change?). We've seen a handful of 30-second violations already, as sometimes both sides have had trouble getting any space for shots.

7:56 p.m. -- Casey Powell of the Blazers is always a treat to watch. He just made a nice fake, move and shot to score for Boston. That tied the game, 2-2. Seconds later, the Blazers took the lead on a goal by Jamie Rooney.

8:01 p.m. -- The Blazers finished the period with three straight goals, and that has lifted them to a 4-2 lead. Casey Powell has two Boston goals; Ryan Powell has one.

8:09 p.m. -- This one has opened up at the start of the second quarter. Buffalo has scored three of the four goals tallied in the first 2:25, reducing the Boston lead to 5-4.

8:13 p.m. -- Chad Culp gets a slashing penalty? No problem for Buffalo. The Bandits scored two short-handed goals (John Tavares and Mark Steenhuis) to take a 6-5 lead. That caused Boston to pull goalie Anthony Cosmo for Nick Rose.

8:19 p.m. -- There are too many Powells tonight. Ryan just scored his second of the game to tie things, 6-6.

8:31 p.m. -- Mark Steenhuis has made a couple of nice moves tonight, and they have both resulted in goals. The last one has the Bandits up, 7-6, in the last minute of the half.

8:33 p.m. -- And that's where we wind up after an interesting first half.

8:54 p.m. -- Steenhuis with two goals and three assists led the scoring in the first 30 minutes. He had another goal waved off moments ago for an obvious crease violation.

8:56 p.m. -- The sound system just played "It's Magic" by Pilot, one of my least favorite songs of the rock era. You'd think that would have been left in the Aud when everything moved to the new place. ("Born to Run" came on shortly after that. That's much better.) We're tied at 7 with 9:01 left in the third quarter, with 16,347 here to watch.

9:06 p.m. -- Back and forth we go. Buffalo didn't score in the first nine minutes of the period and fell behind, 8-7. Then Brett Bucktooth and Tavares responded, so Buffalo is back ahead, 9-8.

9:09 p.m. -- Dan Dawson has quietly rolled up a goal and five assists tonight. The Boston forward just tied the game, 9-9, with 3:20 to go in the third. He is big, and he is good.

9:13 p.m. -- Casey Powell just left the game after taking a shot to the face. He may be looking for a dentist in the locker room area -- hard to tell what exactly the problem is.

9:14 p.m. -- Nothing has been settled after three quarters, as Boston and Buffalo are tied at 9.

9:19 p.m. -- Casey Powell is back on the floor for Boston.

9:24 p.m. -- Brenden Thenhaus scored off a nice pass from Steenhuis, and the Bandits have a one-goal lead with 9:55 left. The Versus audience next week will get a good one, at least.

9:38 p.m. -- Tavares scores to put Buffalo ahead, 11-10, with 2:12 left.

9:43 p.m. -- Chris Corbeil adds an empty-netter, and the Bandits win, 12-10.

11:32 p.m. -- So the Bandits finished a home-and-home sweep of the Blazers, and are firmly in second place. You'd have to think that they belong in any discussion of possible championship contenders this year.

 "I hope so," coach Darris Kilgour said. "It's not so much a statement to the rest of the league, but to
ourselves. It feels real good to have that feeling that no matter what happens you're going to be able to overcome it. I think the guys are starting to have a lot of confidence in each other."

--- 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.

@WDX2BB | bbailey@buffnews.com

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