The Toronto Rock battled back from a six goal deficit but were unable to overtake the Buffalo Bandits at HSBC Arena dropping the game 13-10.
The Rock hold an 8-7 record heading into the final two weeks of the National Lacrosse League regular season and are still in the thick of the East Division post-season race with a one game lead over Boston, Buffalo and Rochester.
Mark Steenhuis opened game scoring for the Bandits but it was quickly answered by Toronto’s Scott Campbell. Toronto’s defence couldn’t hold back Buffalo as Mike Accursi drained two and Steenhuis added his second.
Garrett Billings got Toronto back into the board to start the second quarter before John Tavares got past Watson. Toronto opted for a goalie change, putting Steve Dietrich in between the pipes. He was able to hold off the Bandits for almost eight minutes before Frank Resetarits and Brett Bucktooth extended Buffalo’s lead to end the half 7-2.
Tavares pushed Buffalo even further ahead, but Stephan Leblanc rallied back for the Rock past Mike Thompson. Accursi collected his hat trick, but Colin Doyle answered back, scoring two, to bring it to 9-5. Kasey Beirnes was next for Toronto but Chris Corbeil retaliated with a shorthanded goal. The celebration didn’t last long as Blaine Manning blasted an outside shot to the top corner followed by Billings.
The hat trick was his, as Billings netted his third to bring the score within one. Manning tied it up but Accursi and Steenhuis would bring the Bandits back into the lead. Kyle Schmelzle score on the empty net to solidify Buffalo’s win. After 60 minutes of play the Bandits took the game 13-10.
The final Toronto Rock regular season home game is next Friday, April 16. The Rock host the Rochester Knighthawks at the Air Canada Centre at 7:30 p.m. ET. Tickets are still available and can be purchased through Ticket Master at www.ticketmaster.ca.