7:02 p.m. -- If you have any idea what we might see out of the Buffalo Bandits tonight, let Darris Kilgour know. He's guessing just like the rest of us.
The Bandits take on the Toronto Rock at 7:30 p.m., and Buffalo remains a huge puzzle. Only two weeks ago tonight, we gathered here to see the Bandits handle the Minnesota Swarm. It was their second straight win, and they seemed on the right track.
Then last week, they went into Calgary and got absolutely smoked. Perhaps the most disturbing part was the way Buffalo did so little in the fourth quarter. Yes, they got into a big fight, but that doesn't take much drive.
So, we go into tonight's game with the Bandits chasing the rest of the East. Rochester already has lost today to Colorado, so Buffalo could move into a three-way tie for second in the East.
Tracey Kelusky is out with an Achilles injury, and Jay Thorimburt isn't playing either. Josh Sanderson is out for Toronto. Mike Thompson is Buffalo's starting goalie.
8:38 p.m. -- Rock takes a 7-5 lead into the dressing room. Toronto has a 4-0 edge in power-play goals. Lesson for second halfr for Buffalo -- stay out of the penalty box.
7:21 p.m. -- Jimmy Purves is the third Buffalo scratch. That means Roger Vyse and Tom Montour finally get to play tonight.
7:47 p.m. -- Life isn't fair. Kevin Buchanan did some great work to get shooting room in the slot. He just missed, and the ball carried off the boards and back into the slot. Mat Giles was standing in the slot, jumped up, caught the ball and shot with one motion. Goal.
Meanwhile, Sabres losing and Capitals winning. Hope Mike Harrington returns the favor in his Sabres live blog. (Just kidding, Mike) Buffalo is down, 2-1, with 9:42 in first.
7:55 p.m. -- We're waiting to see if Roger Vyse will get credit for his 100th goal, or if it is waived off after a review. ... Nope, crease violation. It's still 3-1, Toronto. By the way, really good crowd tonight -- a bit of a surprise after the struggles.
8:01 p.m. -- The clock reads 3:10 left in the first period, and the Bandits trail, 3-2. Toronto has a 12-6 edge in shots. Some of that is due to the fact that the Rock had a major-penalty power play.
8:08 p.m. -- Toronto scored just after the end of the first period, but the Rock still has a 4-2 lead after 15 minutes.
8:18 p.m. -- The Bandits have put on a nice little burst. Tavares and Scott Self have tied the game at 4-4. On the Tavares goal, Travis Irving came up the field in open space. He wisely figured out that Tavares should have the ball. A good pass resulted in a one-touch goal.
8:28 p.m. -- Garrett Billings' goal put the Rock ahead, 5-4. Toronto's power play is mighty good. The Rock move the ball very, very well. Boston had a good PP last season, and this might be about as good ... and Toronto is missing a couple of key players to injurY.
8:45 p.m. -- Halftime in Buffalo. Toronto has a 7-5 lead. The shots are 37-19. Think Darris Kilgour will say something like "STAY OUT THE PENALTY BOX" at halftime?
9:05 p.m. -- A five-minute power play for Buffalo has been partially negated by a Mat Giles minor. Ouch. Rock leads, 8-6, early in the third.
9:10 pm. -- A ball got lost under the carpet by the boards just now. Can't say I've seen that in four years of watching this sport.
9:13 p.m. -- Brenden Thenhaus' second goal puts Toronto up, 9-6. The Rock is slowly taking control of the game, at least at the moment.
9:22 p.m. -- Toronto had a goal waived off, so the Rock has that 9-6 lead after three quarters.
9:29 p.m. -- The Bandits have cut the lead to 9-8. Tavares got his third of the night, and Tom Montour added a short-handed score. Toronto is still working on a five-minute power play.
9:38 p.m. -- Power-play goals are killing Buffalo. Toronto is up to seven, and the Rock have a 13-8 lead with 6:54 left. Oops, make it 14-8
9:42 p.m. -- The Bandits have collapsed. Toronto has a 16-8 lead with 5:35 left.
9:55 p.m. -- Bandits lose, 15-9.
-- Budd Bailey