Buffalo – The Toronto Rock are now 0-2 on the season after a 14-10 loss to the Buffalo Bandits on Saturday night south of the border at First Niagara Center.
The Rock opened with a goal from Colin Doyle and carried a heavy advantage in ball possession time in the opening minutes but failed to cash in on some great looks. The Bandits responded with a pair of their own taking a 2-1 lead. Just as quickly, Kasey Beirnes scored on the powerplay followed by Sandy Chapman just seconds later off the ensuing faceoff to give the visiting Rock the lead back 3-2. Before the end of the quarter, the Bandits knotted the score at 3-3.
The two teams exchanged goals early in the second quarter as the Rock built their biggest lead of the opening 30 minutes, going up 6-4. Kevin Buchanan scored shorthanded for the Bandits late in the first half drawing Buffalo to within one goal at the half.
Buffalo rattled off three straight to surge ahead 8-6, but the Rock broke that up with a quick pair of goals coming from Doyle and Bill Greer. Seemingly just as quick, the Bandits again answered the pair of Rock goals with two more of their own to take a 10-8 lead through three quarters.
Buffalo extended their run to 5 goals and held a 13-8 lead. The Rock buried a couple of goals to draw to within three goals late in the fourth quarter. Numerous attempts to score with the goalie pulled and an extra attacker on the floor failed and the Bandits added another one into the empty net to seal the 14-10 win.
Leading the way offensively for the Rock was Garrett Billings notching five points in the loss with a goal and four helpers. Captain Colin Doyle was the top goal scorer potting 3 goals and also adding an assist.
Doyle played in his 187th consecutive game drawing him to within one game of the NLL’s all-time consecutive games played streak of 188, a record held by former Toronto defender Steve Toll.
Blaine Manning played in his 162nd consecutive game – the all-time record for most consecutive games with one team – but left in the first half with after breaking his collarbone and will be sidelined indefinitely. Overall including playoffs Manning had played in 177 consecutive games.
The Rock have a rare week off before playing back-to-back games at the end of the month. Friday, January 27th Toronto returns home to face the Rochester Knighthawks at Air Canada Centre. The following night, the Rock travel to Calgary to face the Roughnecks. Both games can be seen live on TSN2.