Bandits lose Game 1 of NLL Finals

Series moves to Calgary next Saturday

May 19, 2019 - 5:01 am
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(WBEN/WGR)   The Buffalo Bandits lost Game 1 of the NLL Finals to the Calgary Roughnecks 10-7 on Saturday night at KeyBank Center. The loss puts the Bandits 0-1 hole to begin the best-of-three series, which now heads to Calgary next weekend for Game 2.

NLL leading scorer Dane Dobbie led Calgary with six points (3G, 3A). All three of his goals came during a stretch in the second half where the Roughnecks scored seven of eight goals to take a commanding 9-4 lead. 

The teams traded goals in a tightly played first half with the score tied 2-2 at halftime. Rhys Duch scored both goals for Calgary while Corey Small and Dhane Smith tallied for Buffalo. Shawn Evans briefly gave Buffalo the lead early in the third quarter before Roughnecks captain Dan McRae tied the game 42 seconds later to spark a four-goal run. 

A turning point in the game came late in the third quarter when Ethan O'Connor had a goal waved off that would have made the score 5-4. Calgary took the ball after the no goal call and moved it up the floor before Dobbie scored his first of the night. The Bandits threw a challenge flag to review the O'Connor goal but the evidence was inconclusive. The goal by Dobbie stood and Calgary went ahead by two.  

The Bandits tried to battle back in the fourth quarter, going on a three goal run to cut the lead to 9-7. Former Bandit Mitch Wilde iced the game for the Roughnecks with an empty net goal before being cross-checked by Ian MacKay. Wilde appeared to have suffered a lower body injury, and MacKay was assessed a major penalty. 

Josh Byrne and Small both scored twice for the Bandits. Bryne finished with four points as he added two assists. Matt Vinc made 34 saves on 43 shots in a losing effort. 21-year-old Christian Del Bianco made 48 saves on 55 shots for Calgary in his first NLL Finals start.

The NLL Finals now head west for Game 2 on Saturday, May 25 at the Saddledome in Calgary. Faceoff is at 9 p.m. Pregame coverage will start at 8:30 on WGR .

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