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Live from Blue Cross Arena - Bandits vs. Knighthawks

12:30 p.m. -- Yawn.

I'm in my fourth year of covering the Bandits. I believe this is my first afternoon game. The Amerks are playing a night game here; wonder if anyone will do the double-header?

You know the circumstances of this one, no doubt. The Bandits have lost their last five straight games. That sets a franchise record for consective losses. They have a game with Rochester today and then play in Toronto on Friday. They could be looking up at a huge divide in the East Division by the time the next week is over. That would mean Buffalo would be in jeopardy of having to fight for a playoff spot. Only one team misses the playoffs in the NLL, and the Bandits don't want to be remembered for that.

Rochester comes into the game at 4-5. The Knighthawks have been up and down this season, but returning to .500 would be a good starting point as they continue in the second half of the season.

12:50 p.m. -- The scratches are out for the game. Angus Goodleaf, Tom Montour and Brandon Francis are sitting. Jimmy Purves is also listed as playing, but that would give Buffalo 21 players, one over the limit. Mike Thompson is the starting goalie. The Commissioner, George Daniel, is here today. He has a seat in the press box assigned to him, but you'd think he could sit with a better class of people than us.

Glow-in-the-dark thundersticks were handed out today. This is not a game to attend for those who are a bit, shall we say, hung over. One time the Sabres handed out kazoos as a promotion; I believe I ended the game with one of the great headaches of my life.

Darris Kilgour passed on doing the usual pregame interview with Bandits radio broadcaster John Gurtler. I guess he's trying to change the team's luck. I have a feeling his mood still hasn't improved since last week, when he threw practically the whole team under the bus (I love that cliche) in his postgame remarks.

It's been a weekend of upsets so far -- Syracuse lost, Kansas lost, Bruce Springsteen didn't play "Born to Run" at the Apollo Theater last night. We'll see what happens here.

1:06 p.m. -- The p.a. system for the anthem singers didn't work. So ... the audience filled in for the end of the song. Kind of nice sound, actually.

1:15 p.m. -- We've figured out who the extra player is. Mat Giles has been scratched, and Purves has been activated off the practice squad. We'll see if someone else moved to the practice squad. We're at 1-1.

1:26 p.m. -- John Tavares still has the touch on the power play. He has both of Buffalo's goals so far, as the Bandits lead, 2-1.

1:34 p.m. -- Bandits have tied the game on a goal by Jimmy Purves. It's 3-3 after a period of play. There is a decent contingent of Buffalo fans here today, although perhaps the numbers are down a bit from the usual turnoutt.

1:39 p.m. -- The Knighthawks have scored twice in the first two minutes of the second quarter to lead, 5-2. Thompson hasn't stopped much so far today, which you'd have to think is a bad sign. No one warming in the bullpen yet.

1:43 p.m. -- Guess we couldn't see the bullpen. After Rochester made it 6-3, Anthony Cosmo has come on in favor of Thompson.

1:48 p.m. -- The Bandits have falled behind, 7-3, as Rochester has scored four goals in less than five minutes in the second quarter. Too many defensive breakdowns have been followed by few good saves. That would seem to be a recipe for losing.

1:55 p.m. -- The Bandits are officially in free fall, having given up six straight goals in the period. Sometimes Buffalo responds with some physical play. We'll see what happens here.

2:02 p.m. -- We've calmed down a little bit, although that isn't good news for the Bandits. They still trail, 9-3, with 3:27 left in the half. I have the feeling that there won't be much paint left in the Bandits' locker room after Kilgour's halftime speech to the troops.

2:12 p.m. -- The Bandits finish the half losing by 10-3. That only ties the team high this season for worst quarter; Minnesota had a 7-0 period in its win earlier in the season. Might have been as bad a quarter as I've seen in person in three and a half seasons.

2:29 p.m. -- Well, the Bandits are way ahead in faceoffs. Who says we're always negative in the media? Both Buffalo goalies had as many saves as goals allowed in the first half. Do that, and you will lose.

2:38 p.m. -- Trading goals won't help the Bandits in this situation, but at least they scored. Kevin Buchanan got his first since the season open. Cosmo has made a couple of good saves, as the defensive problems continues. Rochester leads, 11-4.

2:47 p.m. -- There is 4:24 left in the third period, and the Bandits still trail by seven goals. Cosmo has stopped the bleeding, but the offense has done little in response. It seems like the Bandits are at times taking long, bad shots, and at times trying to make the perfect pass. Either way it adds up to pressing, although you don't see them together very often.

2:56 p.m. -- The Bandits actually had a goal hold up in spite of a challenge, so Mark Steenhuis gets credit for a goal to make it 12-5.

3:03 p.m. -- If the Bandits lose this game, they would be at 2-6. That would tie a team record for worst record after eight games. The 2010 team also was 2-6, and then won its next foug. We've now gone through all four possible challenges. Bandits went 1-3 in that span.

3:14 p.m. -- The Bandits are down, 13-7, with 5:42 left. The Knighthawks merely have to take it easy and not let down.

3:16 p.m. -- Just tried to find out when the trading deadline is, and I think it is this week. It was on Tuesday, March 15 last year. Easy to wonder if the Bandits will try to do something. Considering that the Bandits still have a chance at making the playoffs (8 of 9 do), it's hard to see them having a clearance sale. Still, I would imagine someone will be making a few calls.

3:19 p.m. -- Bandits have scored four of the last five goals. At least the offense has not qu.it.

3:22 p.m. -- Ought to be an interesting locker room session. Will anyone want to talk to the media? Bandits have cut it to 13-10 with a minute left, which is very deceptive.

3:27 p.m. -- Bandits lose 13-10.

---Budd Bailey

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