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Bandits reach roster limit

The Buffalo Bandits released nine players on Monday to reach the 20-man roster limit for National Lacrosse League teams.

The biggest surprise among the moves may have been Nick Diachenko, who was the team's first draft choice in the 2013 draft. Diachenko went in the second round. Others to go are Dylan Goddard, Derek Hopcroft, Steve Fryer, Mike McNamara, Colin Boucher, Mitch Wilde, Hayden Smith and Jordan Critch.

Boucher, Critch, Smith and Wild were all placed on the team's practice squad. In addition, goalie Eric Penney was placed on injured reserve.

Rosters went from 23 players to 20 this season as part of the new collective bargaining agreement. That probably damaged the chances of Hopcroft and McNamara returning to the team. Both played for the Bandits last season.

Most of last year's team is back for the 2013-14 campaign. However, the listing of Mark Steenhuis as a forward was eye-opening. Steenhuis, once one of the top goal scorers in the league, has spent much of his time in a transition role in recent years. While Steenhuis is capable of playing either position, the roster listing may mean new coach Troy Cordingly will give the veteran a long look up front.

The opening night roster:

Forwards: Ryan Benesch, Chad Culp, Joe Resetarits, Jamie Rooney, Steenhuis, John Tavares, Shawn Williams and Aaron Wilson.

Transition: David Brock, Kevin Brownell, Dhane Smith, Jay Thorimbert and Andrew Watt.

Defensemen: Glen Bryan, Steve Priolo, Billy Dee Smith, Rory Smith and Derek Suddons.

Goaltenders: Anthony Cosmo and Kurtis Wagar.

The season begins on Dec. 28 at home against the Philadelphia Wings.

--- Budd Bailey

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