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Game 1: Buffalo Tops Toronto 14-5

Rock in a must win Saturday night in Hamilton

Buffalo, NY – The Buffalo Bandits defeated the Toronto Rock by a score of 14-5 to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three East Conference Finals series on Friday night at Buffalo’s KeyBank Center.

The series will quickly shift back to Rock City for game two where the Rock will be in a must-win situation should they hope to extend their season and the series.

The two teams traded scores early, but the Bandits took a two-goal lead on goals from Tehoka Nanticoke and Chase Fraser that came just 16 seconds apart, going ahead 3-1.  Rock captain Challen Rogers pulled the string on a short-side rip that completely fooled Buffalo netminder Matt Vinc and silenced the Buffalo crowd to make it 3-2.  Moments later, Banditland was back on their feet after a Justin Robinson goal.  Rogers scored his second to close the gap to 4-3, with the Bandits leading after fifteen minutes.

Following almost nine minutes without a goal for either team, Buffalo widened the gap in the second quarter. The Bandits’ Josh Byrne scored twice in a span of just 29 seconds, once in the air and once on a long-range shot.  The Rock made it a two-goal game once again with Rogers completing his first-half hat trick, but the Rock still trailed 6-4.  Nanticoke scored his second of the game for the Bandits to give Buffalo a 7-4 edge at halftime.

Vinc stopped 24 of the 28 shots he faced through the first 30 minutes, while Rose made 15 saves on 22 Buffalo shots.

Things came apart for the Rock in the third quarter.  Buffalo scored six times and their fourth goal of the frame chased Rose from the Rock net.  Troy Holowchuk entered the game to tend goal for the Rock with 7:40 to go in the third.  Buffalo led 13-4 heading for the final quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Rock and the Bandits each scored once.

The Rock were 0-for-5 with the man up, while the Bandits were 2-for-5 on their chances.  Toronto outshot Buffalo 57-41.

Tickets are on sale now for game two of the series on Saturday night at 7pm at FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton.

For more information on tickets, please visit torontorock.com, call the Rock Ticket Office at 416-596-3075 or email us at tickets@torontorock.com.

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Toronto Rock