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Rivalry Round One Goes To Buffalo

Rock Lose 11-8 To Bandits

Hamilton, ON – The rivalry is the best in the NLL.  Tonight, the Buffalo Bandits (1-1) were just the better team, handing the Toronto Rock (1-2) an 11-8 loss on Saturday night at FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton.

The two teams met in the East Conference final back in May and delivered an epic series that went the Bandits’ way as well.  This matchup was the first of three on the regular schedule between the two NLL powerhouses.

“We’ve got to score more goals,” said Rock forward Tom Schreiber.  “I think our defence did a good job containing a really good offence on their side.  It’s frustrating, it’s disappointing.  At the same time, it’s game 3 of 18 and we’d rather go through this now and figure it out early in the season.  We have a resilient group so I’m confident we’ll be okay, but this one stings.”

For the second straight game, Toronto dug themselves an early hole, falling behind 3-0.  However, this week the Rock showed some of the fight this group is known for, battling back to tie the game 3-3 after one.

The second quarter was the difference in the game.  While the Rock were generating shots, they struggled getting premium looks on the Bandits’ goal that also happened to have one of the best goaltenders of all time, Matt Vinc standing in the way.  After falling behind 6-3, Tom Schreiber broke up the Bandits’ three-goal run and down came the Teddy Bears from the crowd of 7,730 in Rock City.  Buffalo scored twice more before the end of the half to lead 8-4 at the break.

The third quarter produced just one goal and it was Buffalo doing the scoring and taking a 9-4 lead into the final frame.

The Rock started hot in the fourth.  Corey Small scored just 29 seconds into the quarter and Dan Craig tallied a few minutes later to close the gap to 9-6.  The Rock could get no closer, trading goals with the Bandits the rest of the way, and suffering their first home loss of the season.

“We have a good group in there,” said Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer.  “We’re not where we want to be and it’s certainly a process. This doesn’t feel good for anyone in that room or associated with this team.   Nobody is going to help us out, we’ll get out of it with the people in there.”

Rock goal scorers were Small and Schreiber with three goals each, Craig had a pair to round out the scoring.

Toronto outshot Buffalo 60-51.  The Rock were 3-for-5 on the power play, while the Bandits were 1-for-1.

Tickets for the Rock’s next home game at FirstOntario Centre on Saturday, January 14 against Halifax are on sale now!  For more information on tickets, please visit, call the Rock Ticket Office at 416-596-3075 or email us at

Toronto Rock