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Live from First Niagara Center: Bandits vs. Knighthawks

7:06 p.m. - Don't roll up the carpet yet. There's more lacrosse to be played here.

The Bandits advanced in the first round of the playoffs against Toronto last week. That earned them the chance to play in the East Final against Rochester. The Knighthawks had a bye in the first round. Later tonight, Calgary goes against Edmonton in the West final.

It's best-of-two-and-a-sixth, as I'm fond of saying. Each team has a home game. If both teams have a win at this time next week, they will follow the second game with a 10-minute mini-game. It hasn't been a popular move on the team level (coaches, players, etc.), but people do like the idea of having a home game in the mix.

We will have a small crowd for this one. The Bandits had sold 8,500 tickets as of this morning. It's tough to move tickets on such short notice. It will not be the worst crowd ever. The Bandits drew 6,742 for a Feb. 5, 2000 game.

No word on the lineups yet. The lineup sheet and the media notes had different Buffalo rosters, who we'll have to see who wins that one.

7:28 p.m. - Still no sign of lineups. Meanwhile, you might have seen the documentary (22 min.) on John Tavares done for AT&T. The crew is back this weekend working on a follow-up. Watch for it in about six to eight weeks; I'm sure the Bandits will give it plenty of publicity.

7:30 p.m. - Looks like the same lineup as last week. That would mean Aaron Wilson and Glen Bryan will sit. Joel Matthews and Mitch Jones on practice squad.

7:38 p.m. - Anthems are done. Joe McCready and Mac Allen are the scratches for Rochester. Let's go to work.

7:46 p.m. - Bandits jump out to 2-0 lead, with Mark Steenhuis getting both goals. Can't ask for a much better start from a Buffalo perspective. Bandit fans that did show up actually have been pretty loud.

7:56 p.m. - Rochester has come back with 3 straight goals. Knighthawks have a 3-2 lead with 3:11 left. Jamieson, Dawson and Walters did the scoring.

8:02 p.m. - That's where it ends up after a period. Bandits have been outshot, 15-10.

8:20 p.m. - Bandits fight back to take a 6-4 lead. John Tavares turned back the clock to score two vintage goals in a row. One came on a fast break, the other on the old jump from behind the net stuff shot. Steenhuis has a hat trick.

8:32 p.m. - Halftime - Bandits up, 6-5. Odd first half, with both teams having stretches of blocked shots, missed passes, etc. But there also have been some exciting goals.

8:52 p.m. - Six minutes (exactly) have gone by in the second half, and there's been no change in the scored. Buffalo still up by a 6-5 count. The Bandits have 55 seconds left on a power play. Frankly, not too much has happened in the early going of the half. Lots of bad possessions have taken place.

8:58 p.m. - Dan Dawson got open right in front of the net. The future Hall of Famer cashed in on the opportunity to tie the game at 6. We have 4:52 left in the third quarter.

9:05 p.m. - Cory Vitarelli puts the Knighthawks up again, 7-6. The lead holds up through the end of the third period.

9:14 p.m. - Dhane Smith ties it for Buffalo. 7-7 with 10:28 left. In other words, nothing has been decided.

9:24 p.m. - Buffalo explodes for three straight goals to lead, 10-8 with 4:50 to go.

9:31 p.m. - Bandits up 12-8 with 1:13. Tavares with four goals.

9:36 p.m. - Bandits win, 12-8, a win from NLL final.

--- 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.