TORONTO (From Bandits.com)- The Bandits came into Toronto, the place they got their last win, looking to end a four-game losing streak. Instead, the slide extended to five games. The Toronto Rock (9-4) opened up a 9-0 run in the second half and thumped the Bandits, 18-11.The Banditd fell to 5-8 on the season.
The opening quarter of what is considered one of the greatest rivalries in the NLL kicked off with a bang. Bandits' defender Glenn Bryan took a shot away from Garrett Billings and took off on a two-on-one with Mark Steenhuis.
Bryan fired the shot past Rock goaltender Nick Rose to give the Bandits a 1-0 on a shorthanded goal. Then, seemingly unprovoked, the players began pairing off in a small scrum around the Toronto goal. The eight players involved were all given roughing minors.
After Bryan's goal, however, the Rock took over offensively. Garrett Billings scored on the power play to tie the game at 1-1. Then, Colin Doyle was able to score 40 seconds after Billings to give the Rock a 2-1 lead. Blaine Manning and Kasey Beirnes scored three minutes apart to give the Rock a 4-1 lead.
Dhane Smith was able to bring the Bandits within two and scored his team-leading 19th goal of the season to end the first quarter with his team trailing 4-2.
The Rock opened up the scoring in the second period just over a minute in. Former Bandit Roger Vyse buried his first goal as a member of the Rock to put his team up 5-2. The Bandits were able to come right back with two goals of their own. Derek Hopcroft-- after getting into a fight earlier in the game--scored from the left wing side to cut the Rock lead to 5-3. Mike Hominuck got a goal of his own a minute and 40 seconds later to bring the Bandits within one.
Rock forward Bill Greer was able to steal some momentum back. The Bandits' Jay Thorimbert had difficulty controlling the ball off of the faceoff. Patrick Merrill was able to pick up the loose ball, and feed Greer to put the Rock back up by two, 6-4.
Shawn Williams appeared to have the Bandits back within one. Steenhuis stole the ball away and took off on a 2-on-1 with Williams in transition. Williams caught a pass all alone in front of Rose, and snuck the shot over his shoulder. Rock coach Troy Cordingly threw the challenge flag. After further review, it was seen that Williams just had his toes inside the crease before the ball crossed the line, and the goal was waved off.
Captain John Tavares was able to get the goal back, though. With the shot clock winding down on a Bandits power play, an errant pass bounced around the boards and nearly back across the center line. Hopcroft was able to corral the ball just outside the Rock zone.
With just seconds left on the shot clock, he whipped a desperation shot from outside the zone towards Rose. The Rock goaltender made the save, but the ever-savvy Tavares was right there to scoop up the rebound and bring his team within one, 6-5.
Stephan Leblanc appeared to deliver a dagger of a goal two minutes later. He caught a pass on the right wing, and froze Bandits defender Scott Priolo by coming to complete stop. He was able to kick right back into second gear, and drive the net, beating Bandits' goaltender Anthony Cosmo with a diving shot and give his team a 7-5 lead.
Shawn Williams wasn't done yet. With just seconds left on the shot clock, and 1.1 seconds left on the game clock, Williams rifled a shot from the point and beat Rose over the left shoulder. There was no doubt about that one, and the Bandits went into halftime trailing by just one, 7-6.
The Rock would open what was a living nightmare of a third quarter for the Bandits. Doyle continued his domination of the Bandits, by scoring 18 seconds in the second half, and completed a hat trick two minutes later.
LeBlanc and Bernies both notched their second goals within two minutes of one another and continued to exploit a hapless Bandits defense. Darris Kilgour opted to pull Cosmo in favor of Kurtis Wagar, but it did not make much of a difference. Rob Hellyer pounced on a loose ball rebound, and snapped it past a lunging Wagar to put the rock up 12-6.
Williams appeared to score and stop the bleeding temporarily, as he buried an Aaron Wilson rebound past a sprawling Rose. However, it was challenged again, and, once again, Williams had a goal taken away as Wilson was still in the goal crease in the follow through from his shot.
The Rock would score two more goals as part of a 7-0 third quarter run and took an eight-goal lead into the final stanza, 14-6.
The Rock would extend their run to nine straight, and extended their lead to 16-6 early in the fourth quarter. Tavares, Steenhuis, Dhane Smith, and Bryan added goals after that, and Kevin Brownell was able to net his first career NLL goal, but it did not matter much, as the damage was done.
The Bandits will turn their attention to the Minnesota Swarm as they continue to look for answers. Game time is set for 8 PM EDT (7 PM CDT) at the Xcel Energy Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Bandits won their last game over the Swarm, 13-12.