April 4, 2009

Bandits Seal the Deal

from press releases

BOSTON - The Buffalo Bandits defeated the Boston Blazers by a score of 15-11 at TD Banknorth Garden on Saturday night. The combination of the win and the Rochester loss to Calgary on Saturday night means the Bandits become the first team in the East Division to clinch a playoff berth. John Tavares scored six goals to lead the Bandits offense.

The scoring got off to a fast and furious start. Both teams scored six goals in the first quarter. Tavares scored three for Buffalo, while Gary Bining and Matt Lyons each scored twice for the Blazers.

After a tough start, Bandits goaltender Ken Montour settled down in the second quarter, holding Boston scoreless. Buffalo scored three times and took a 9-6 lead into halftime.

The Bandits led 10-8 entering the fourth quarter. The Blazers closed within one on a few occasions, but late goals by Tavares, Mike Accursi and Sean Greenhlagh allowed Buffalo to pull away.

Tavares had six goals and three assists, including his 1,400th career point.

Buffalo improves to 9-4 and has clinched a playoff berth. Boston falls to 8-6, but remains in second place in the East, one half game ahead of New York.

Calagary In; Captures West With Next Win

CALGARY - The Calgary Roughnecks defeated the Rochester Knighthawks 12-9 at Pengrowth Saddledome on Saturday night. Calgary improves to a league best 10-3, is assured at least second place in the West Division. This also means the Roughnecks will host one of the four Divisional Semifinal playoff games on the weekend of May 1-3. Rochester falls to 6-8, and is tied with the Philadelphia Wings for fourth place in the East Division.

Rochester came roaring out of the gates, and jumped out to a 7-1 lead. Seven different Knighthawks scored goals in that stretch. Calgary pulled back into the game, on the strength of three first half goals by Tracey Kelusky. The score was 7-4 at halftime.

The Roughnecks turned the tables on their guests in the third quarter. Kaleb Toth scored twice as the Roughnecks scored five goals to none for Rochester. Calgary led 9-7 entering the fourth quarter.

The Knighthawks only managed two second half goals and lost by a score of 12-9.

Kelusky scored four goals and Jeff Shattler added three for Calgary.

Shawn Willians and Shawn Evans each scored twice for Rochester.

Philly Nears .500 Mark After Downing New York

PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Wings defeated the New York Titans 11-7 on Saturday night in the first game of a weekend home-and-home series. Philadelphia improves to 6-7, while New York falls to 7-6.

Brandon Miller saved 45 of 52 shots. With the win and the Knighthawks loss to Calgary, the Wings are now tied for the final playoff spot in the East Division.

"Brandon Miller played great for us tonight and helped to lift us to one of our biggest wins of the season," said Wings Head Coach Dave Huntley.

The Wings Kyle Wailes scored just 30 seconds into the contest, and the team never looked back. Drew Westervelt scored a game high four goals, but it was Miller that kept the Wings ahead in the first period by stopping 16 of his 45 shots. Westervelt and Merrick Thomson led the Wings offensive efforts by combining for runs of three goals in the second and fourth period. Thomson finished with three goals and two assists.

The first minute of the game saw goals scored by Wailes, the Titans Jordan Hall, and Athan Iannucci. The only goal scored by Iannucci would give the Wings the lead for the remainder of the night. Geoff Snider's second game back from a fractured trachea resulted in two goals and two assists.

Miller was named MVP of the game for holding the Titans to 2 for 11 on the power play and even stopping a penalty shot late in the fourth quarter.

The teams play each other again on Sunday at 2:30pm at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.

Swarm Snaps Skid; Eyes Playoffs

MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Swarm (6-8) ended its three-game winless streak and boosted its playoff hopes with a 9-7 win over the Edmonton Rush (5-8) Saturday night in front of 12,476 at the Xcel Energy Center. Minnesota moves back into a tie with San Jose for fourth place in the West Division. Chad Culp had four points including the game-winning goal, Aaron Wilson led the team with two goals, and Kevin Croswell made 46 saves in the victory. Dan Teat led Edmonton with five points and Chris Levis made 40 saves in the loss.

"It feels great, we knew it was going to be a battle and that's exactly what it was," said Head Coach Duane Jacobs. "Both teams put together a solid game and we were able to get some timely goals, it was just a great team win."

Minnesota and Edmonton entered the game tied for fifth in the West Division, just half a game behind San Jose for the fourth and final playoff spot. The Swarm took control in shots early, out-shooting Edmonton 12-7 in the first quarter, but goals came at a premium as Ryan Sharp scored the only goal of the quarter for Minnesota 57 seconds into the game. Mike Hominuck responded at 4:03 and the teams headed to the second quarter in a 1-1 tie.

Edmonton took a 2-1 lead at 1:02 as F Jamie Floris scored his 11th goal of the season, but Minnesota responded. Sean Pollock tied the score at 2:55 on the power-play, followed by Ryan Ward's 20th goal of the season at 11:50. The Swarm was unable to extend its lead though as the game remained tight. Callum Crawford scored short-handed at 13:45 to tie the score at three heading into halftime.

With playoff positioning on the line, the see-saw battle continued as neither team was able to take control. The teams exchanged three goals in the third quarter with Josh Funk, Kevin Ross and Ryan Cousins scoring for Minnesota. The Swarm was unable to extend its lead beyond one, however as the Rush responded after each Swarm goal and the teams headed to the fourth quarter tied at six.

Minnesota started strong in the fourth quarter as Wilson scored just 43 seconds into the fourth quarter. After Crawford again tied the game at 5:45, the Swarm opened the door for Edmonton to take the lead as Travis Hill was sent to the penalty box for roughing. Croswell quickly became the story of the game though for Minnesota in his first start since February 28th at Buffalo. Croswell stood strong as Edmonton was unable to score on the power-play. "It felt great getting back in there," Croswell said. "It's been awhile but waited my time out and got in there and showed what I can do."

After the successful penalty kill, Culp scored the eventual game-winning-goal at 9:24. Then at 10:08, Floris was given a 5-minute major for high sticking, giving Minnesota a chance to seal the game on the power-play. At 11:48 Wilson scored his second of the game to give Minnesota a 9-7 lead. Minnesota sealed the strong special teams win with a penalty kill to end the game.

"We've been spending a lot of time on the special teams, tonight it was about time we were able to come through in the fourth quarter at both ends," Jacobs said. "A lot of time, a lot of work and hopefully that can be a big part in the last two games." Wilson (2-1=3), Pollock (1-2=3) and Ross (1-2=3) all finished with three points for Minnesota. Edmonton out-shot Minnesota 53-49 on the night but went 0-4 on the power-play; Minnesota finished 2-5 on the night.

Portland Edges Mammoth in OT Thriller

PORTLAND - Peter Jacobs scored the game-winning goal 4:09 into overtime to lift the Portland LumberJax past the Colorado Mammoth, 13-12, at the Rose Garden on Saturday. The Jax led 6-2 after one quarter and 9-6 at halftime, but Colorado raced back into the game with a 4-0 shutout third quarter to take a 10-9 lead.

The two teams traded blows in the fourth, with rookie Tim Campeau scoring his third goal of the game five minutes into the frame to give Portland a 12-11 lead. Gavin Prout scored off a Brian Langtry feed to tie the game at 12 goals apiece with 6:10 remaining in regulation.

Campeau and Brodie Merrill each scored three goals to lead Portland, while Derek Malawsky and Richard Morgan each scored twice. Rookie goaltender Matt Flindell made 49 saves in the win.

Langtry and Prout led the Mammoth with four and three goals, respectively. Curtis Palidwor (21 saves, 9 goals against) and Andrew Leyshon (22 saves, 4 goals against) split time in goal.

April 3, 2008

Blazers Close In On Postseason Berth

- The Boston Blazers accomplished the first half of their Week 14 playoff-clinching scenario by defeating the Toronto Rock, 14-13, at Air Canada Centre on Friday night. Blazers goaltender Anthony Cosmo faced 66 shots, making 53 saves, and teammate Dan Dawson led the Blazers with seven points by scoring two goals and seven assists. Blazers rookie Daryl Veltman added three goals.

Boston opened the game on a 4-0 run, receiving goals from forwards Matt Lyons, Gary Bining and Veltman and transition player Jay Thorimbert. After Toronto cut the score to 5-3 on a Lewis Ratcliff goal with 9:22 left in the second quarter, Veltman and Dawson scored the last two goals of the first half to give Boston a 7-3 lead. Cosmo ended the half with 26 saves.

The Rock made things interesting early in the second half, scoring the first three goals to pull within one at 7-6. The two teams went back and forth for most of the remainder of the game, but the Blazers never allowed to Rock to get closer than two within goals again until the 14:26 mark of the final quarter. After Ratcliff scored to make the score 14-11 about a minute earlier, fellow forward Luke Wiles made the score 14-12. With one second left in the game, Rock forward Jason Clark made the score 14-13, which would remain the final.

Ratcliff and Wiles continued their hot play of late; Ratcliff finished with three goals and three assists while Wiles added two goals and four assists. Goaltender Bob Watson saved 39 shots and allowed 14 goals while playing 59:40 for Toronto.

Boston travels to Buffalo to take on the Bandits tomorrow, and a victory would clinch a playoff spot in the East Division for the expansion Blazers.

Edmonton Fends Off Portland

EDMONTON - The Portland LumberJax began their second straight back-to-back weekend by falling to the Edmonton Rush, 11-10, in front of 6,517 Friday night at Rexall Place.  The Jax (6-6) will have a chance to avenge the loss Saturday night as they host the Colorado Mammoth at 7:30 p.m. at the Rose Garden Arena.

Trailing 1-0, Portland evened things up with 12:20 left in the first quarter as defenseman Brodie Merrill (2 goals, 2 assists) scored in transition off a pass from forward Scott Stewart (2 assists).  Just over three minutes later, forward Peter Morgan (2 goals, 3 assists) scored with 9:05 left in the quarter.  Off passes from forwards Derek Malawsky (1 goal, 2 assists) and Tim Campeau (1 goal, 1 assist), Morgan sent a shot over Rush goalie Chris Levis' left shoulder.

The run reached 3-0 with 4:42 left in the first as Morgan scored his second goal of the game to make it 3-1.  Edmonton rebounded quickly, scoring the next two goals to tie the game at three.

The Jax regained the lead with 11:49 left in the second quarter as forward Cory Conway (3 goals) sent a bullet past Levis on the power play to make it 4-3.  Conway then scored again with 10:30 left in the half off passes from defenseman Luke Forget and forward Ryan Powell (1 goal, 3 assists).

Portland again notched a 3-0 run as Merrill scored an unassisted goal with 7:05 left in the half to push the lead to 6-3.  However, Edmonton scored the final two goals of the half to cut the lead to 6-5 at the half.

The Rush opened the second half with two goals to take a 7-6 lead. Portland tied the game at seven with 4:55 left in the third quarter as Campeau scored.

After the Rush took an 8-7 lead, Portland came right back to tie the game at eight.  With 1:27 left in the quarter, Malawsky scored on the power play after cutting through and beating Levis off a Morgan pass.

Edmonton (5-8) would add a late goal to take a 9-8 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Rush extended their lead to 11-8 before Portland began its comeback. Conway tallied the hat trick with 5:32 left in regulation and then Powell scored with 2:25 left to cut the lead to 11-10.

Levis and the rest of the Rush defense were able to hold Portland scoreless the rest of the way and pick up the 11-10 win.

Goalie Joel Weber, making his first career start in the National Lacrosse League, stopped 30 of the 41 shots he faced.

Rochester Picks Up First Road Win

DENVER - The Rochester Knighthawks picked up their first road win of the season at the expense of the Colorado Mammoth at Pepsi Center on Friday night, winning by the score of 12-8. Knighthawks goaltender Pat O'Toole stymied the Mammoth attack by stopping 40 out of 48 shots and forward Shawn Evans sparked the offense with three goals and five assists. The win moved the Knighthawks to 5-1 in their last six games.

The first quarter belonged to the two starting goaltenders, as Knighthawks forward Jamie Rooney scored the lone tally of the period at the 12:09 mark; O'Toole stopped all eight shots he faced in the period while Mammoth goaltender Andrew Leyshon stopped nine of 10 shots. O'Toole continued his stellar play into the second quarter, allowing only one goal to Mammoth forward Gary Rosyski. Rochester outscored Colorado 4-1 in the second, making the score 5-1 at the half.

The Mammoth struck first in the second half when forward Gavin Prout scored 24 seconds into the third quarter, but Knighthawks transition player Chris Schiller intercepted a pass over six minutes later and sped down the turf to score and restore Rochester's four goal lead. Colorado cut the deficit to three goals by the time the third quarter ended, and later cut that lead to one when forward Brian Langtry scored an unassisted goal with over 10 minutes left in the game.

The Knighthawks bounced back by scoring four of the last five goals in the game to close out the victory, including three tallies by Evans.

Colorado was led in scoring by Langtry, who finished with three goals and two assists. Leyshon played 59:41 and saved 35 of the 46 shots he faced.

San Jose Blows Away Swarm

 - The Minnesota Swarm (5-8) extended its winless streak to three games with an 18-8 loss to the San Jose Stealth (6-8) Friday night at the HP Pavilion.

F Sean Pollock (2-1=3), F Kevin Buchanan (2-1=3) and F Ryan Ward (1-2=3) each had three points to lead Minnesota; G Nick Patterson allowed 10 goals and G Kevin Croswell allowed eight on the night. F Colin Doyle led San Jose with 13 points (3-10=13) and leads the NLL with 99 points this season. F Rhys Duch added eight points (5-3=8) and G Tyler Richards made 45 saves in the win. Minnesota returns to St. Paul Saturday to host the Edmonton Rush, 7:00 PM at the Xcel Energy Center.

On the back of Doyle, San Jose jumped out to an 8-0 lead midway through the second quarter. Doyle scored two goals and added four assists for the Stealth before Pollock put Minnesota on the board at 7:57. San Jose added three more goals to end the second quarter for an 11-1 halftime lead.

The Stealth extended its lead to 14-1 with three goals to begin the third quarter before the Swarm responded in the second half. Minnesota scored seven of the next eight goals to cut the deficit to 15-8, Buchanan scored twice and added an assist in the stretch before the Stealth scored the final three goals to finish with the 18-8 victory.

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