Jump to content

Buffalo Bandits, NLL, lacrosse


Recommended Posts


Welcome! If you are looking to discuss Buffalo’s professional lacrosse team, then you have entered the correct thread. This is also the place to talk about anything related to the rest of the National Lacrosse League (NLL) or to the beautiful sport of lacrosse. Rochester Knighthawks discussion will be tolerated but not encouraged.


The pandemic cut short the 34th NLL season on March 12 of this year. Normally the league begins their new season at the very end of November, but the 35th one is now tentatively set to start on the weekend of April 9-11, 2021. There’s also an expansion franchise (the 14th in the league) in the Dallas metro area, but I don’t believe they’re planning to begin play until the 36th season. I’m not expecting a lot of news and activity for the next couple months, so in the meantime I’ll just go ahead and do a roster prediction. I’m using last season’s active roster rules (2 goalies + 17 runners), but it may be different now because of COVID-19 adjustments. I have Buffalo’s first three 2020 draft picks making the active roster, but who knows how likely that will be…


G (2): Matt Vinc, Doug Buchan

LD/LT (5): Bryce Sweeting, Justin Martin, Ian MacKay, Brent Noseworthy, Jordan Stouros

RD/RT (4): Steve Priolo, Kevin Brownell, Nick Weiss, Frank Brown

LF (3): Josh Byrne, Chris Cloutier, Brad McCulley

RF (5): Dhane Smith, Kyle Buchanan, Dan Lintner, Chase Fraser, Sam La Roue


The other players (21): Devlin Shanahan, Taylor Kauffeldt, Alec Tulett, Joel Matthews, Matt Spanger, Marcus Minichiello, Liam Patten, Dalton Sulver, Ethan O’Connor, Reid Acton, Carter Stefaniak, Chukwuemeka Okaeme, J.P. Kealey, Tye Argent, Justin Guterding, Ryder Garnsey, Garrett Billings, Craig England, Quinn Powless, Vaughn Harris, Nathaniel Kozevnikov.


Other useful info: the owner is Terry Pegula (One Buffalo!!!). The GM is NLL Hall of Fame goalie, Steve Dietrich (entering his 9th season). The head coach is NLL Hall of Fame forward/lacrosse God, John Tavares (entering his 3rd season). It has surely been a while, but you may or may not still recall that this team is really good. They made it to the league finals in 2019 and were only a full game behind the best team in 2020 before the regular season was cancelled.


So…any other Bandits fans around?? I’ve been one since the glory days of the Darris Kilgour head coaching tenure when my dad would take the family to go see a couple games every year. I totally missed out on the SUPER glory days (1992-1997) when Darris Kilgour was a player! How about anyone who has played the great sport of lacrosse? My own aggregate knowledge of the game comes from following the Bandits and from watching my brothers’ high school lacrosse games. My aspiration for this thread is to give these amazing Buffalo pro athletes the love, attention, and respect that their league and their sport deserves!

  • Cheers 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love the indoor game and cheer for both the Knighthawks and Bandits.  I wish it had more television presence because I'm pretty addicted to it.

  • Cheers 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My father, ex-husband, and son had season tickets for a decade.

I had never gone to a game but kept hearing from them what a great time it was! So, I booted my son from his seat for the the 1994 championship game, and well, we all know what happened there.  Not only did I have one unhappy son before the game, after the game I was called a jinx. I was never allowed back to a Bandits game. 😛

  • Haha 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 weeks later...

My youngest daughter has played lacrosse the last few years.  It was the 1 sport my wife and I could not explain/help her with at all.  She picked it up quick and I love watching her team play (they won their championship the 1st year, 2nd year cut short due to COVID).  Can't wait for this season.


Anyway, I'm hoping that they allow fans this season as I'd love to take her to a game when we come to WNY to visit family.  I'll be keeping an eye on this thread.  🙂

  • Cheers 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
3 hours ago, Whatnot78 said:

I just got the email that the 2021 NLL season has been cancelled and they will focus on the 2021-2022 season. 😞


My best guess is that the majority of NLL players are Canadian?

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Wow, it’s been a while since this thread was updated! So the new season is set to begin on the weekend of December 4th. I don’t know when the exact schedule will be ready, but expect 9 home games for the Bandits. Almost all will likely be on Saturday night, minus an occasional Friday night or Sunday afternoon game due to conflicts with Sabres home games. The 2021 NLL Entry Draft will be held at some point in September. Training camp will open at some point in November.


I’m going to tailor the rest of my post for those new to Banditland, lacrosse, and the NLL. A very common American misconception is that the NLL is some sort of inferior pro league because they play an indoor/”box” version of the sport. The truth is that it is in the highest tier of lacrosse play in the world and is considered completely on par with the 8-team Premier Lacrosse League, which plays the outdoor/”field” version (and which recently merged with Major League Lacrosse in December). Some lacrosse players even play in both leagues. Indoor lacrosse is the popular version in Canada with 5 “runners” plus the goalie, while outdoor lacrosse is the dominant one in the United States with an extra 4 players on the field. NLL players are every bit the elite professional athletes that NFL or NHL players are, though they admittedly make WAY less because pro lacrosse doesn’t have nearly the same popularity nor the same TV contracts. Consequently, most of the players are “weekend warriors” with normal boring jobs during the week. If you are a Bills fan but a lacrosse newcomer, you should know that this sport was highly respected by two legendary athletes named Jim (Thorpe and Brown). If you’re a Sabres fan but a lacrosse newbie, think of indoor/box lacrosse as the three-dimensional version of hockey minus the ice! And with the Sabres tragically looking like they do for the foreseeable future (though many of the younger players ARE playing much better under Don Granato!), you could probably use a fun diversion at KeyBank Center. For all those who happen to be completely new to the Bandits, I’d recommend making sure you at least know who these 7 players are when watching a game:


#48: Matt Vinc (future Hall of Fame goaltender, will be 39 years old by the start of the season)

#23: Steve Priolo (All-Star vet defenseman and captain of the team)

#8: Kevin Brownell (assistant team captain and veteran “transition” player, which is analogous to a “middie” for you field lacrosse people)

#92: “Great” Dhane Smith (our superstar forward)

#22: Josh Byrne (our other All-Star forward)

#2: Chris Cloutier (another very talented young forward)

#95: Chase Fraser (yet another dangerously talented…and dangerously handsome…young forward)


Oh by the way, the state of New York is getting its fourth NLL team!!!! In late February, the New England Black Wolves apparently relocated to Albany and will play in the Times Union Center. While I am a Buffalo loyalist, I do also identify generally as an Upstate NY’er and so have enough love reserved for anyone broadly along the Erie Canal (Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, etc.). If our Capital City comrades want to discuss their new team in this thread, I won’t give you too hard of a time about it. Same goes for Knighthawks fans. Riptide fans, however, will be mercilessly harangued.


Hmmm…you know what? If you’re trying hard to follow this league, all of the relocations and name changes over the years can be mighty confusing, especially with Rochester and Philadelphia and Boston. So I guess now would be a good time to put on my “lacrosse historian” hat and attempt to clarify some things for you. There have been 29 distinct franchises since the National Lacrosse League began in 1987 (called the Eagle Pro Box Lacrosse League from 1987-1988 and the Major Indoor Lacrosse League from 1989-1997). 14 are active and 15 are defunct. I don’t believe the league ever implemented any bizarre Cleveland Browns-to-Baltimore Ravens transition rules with any of the 16 market relocations. Here is a list of the 14 active NLL franchises, arranged chronologically by birth order:


1. Albany team (currently unnamed): 1987 (known as the Philadelphia Wings from 1987-2014 and the New England Black Wolves from 2015-2020)

1. Colorado Mammoth: 1987 (Baltimore Thunder from 1987-1999, Pittsburgh CrosseFire in 2000, Washington Power from 2001-2002)

3. Buffalo Bandits: 1992

4. Halifax Thunderbirds: 1995 (Rochester Knighthawks from 1995-2019)

5. Toronto Rock: 1998 (Ontario Raiders of Hamilton in 1998 only)

6. Vancouver Warriors: 2000 (Albany Attack from 2000-2003, San Jose Stealth from 2004-2009, Washington Stealth in Seattle from 2010-2013, called the Vancouver Stealth from 2014-2018)

7. Calgary Roughnecks: 2002

8. Georgia Swarm: 2005 (Minnesota Swarm from 2005-2015)

9. Saskatchewan Rush: 2006 (Edmonton Rush from 2006-2015)

10. Philadelphia Wings: 2019

10. San Diego Seals: 2019

12. NY Riptide: 2020

12. Rochester Knighthawks: 2020

14. Panther City (Fort Worth) Lacrosse Club: this coming season


And here is a list of the 15 defunct NLL franchises, also arranged chronologically by birth order:


1. Washington Wave: 1987-1989

1. NJ/NY Saints: 1987-2003

3. Detroit Turbos: 1989-1994

3. New England/Boston Blazers: 1989-1997

5. Pittsburgh Bulls: 1990-1993

6. Charlotte Cobras: 1996

7. Syracuse Smash/Ottawa Rebel: 1998-2003 (even though the Rush purchased their rights, they are officially recognized as separate franchises)

8. Columbus Landsharks/Arizona Sting: 2001-2007

9. Montreal Express: 2002 (the Swarm later purchased their rights, but they are considered to be separate entities)

9. Vancouver Ravens: 2002-2004

9. NJ/Anaheim Storm: 2002-2005

12. Portland LumberJax: 2006-2009

13. Chicago Shamrox: 2007-2008

13. NY/Orlando Titans: 2007-2010

15. Boston Blazers: 2009-2011


Hope this helps?? See any team names you recognize from back in the day, perhaps? Note that Albany is now on its second NLL team, Rochester is also on its second, the NYC area is on its fourth, and Syracuse had one too. Also note that no other city has maintained a professional lacrosse franchise longer than Buffalo. I sometimes like to think of us as the Green Bay Packers of lacrosse! We’re tied for second in finals appearances (9) behind only Halifax (10). We’re fourth in championships (4 of them: 1992, 1993, 1996, 2008) behind Toronto (6), Albany (6), and Halifax (5). I suppose it makes sense that New York state has such a rich history in professional lacrosse since the sport is so big here at all of the lower levels (youth, high school, college). This is mainly due to lacrosse’s origins with Native Americans and particularly with the Iroquois Confederacy that was centered in Upstate NY. My suspicion is that the purple color lining in the uniforms of the Bandits is a tribute to the Iroquois Confederacy! Check out their national flag:



  • Cheers 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 9 months later...

Bandits beat I-90 rival Kin-ig-hit Hawks 11-8 to remain the only undefeated team in the league.


They play Toronto in Hamilton next Saturday at 5PM.


All games are on ESPN+ this season.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Weirdest momentum in a lax game this kid has ever seen in tonight's Firebirds Bandits game.


Albany was up 1-0 after 1.


Bandits up 6-1 after 2.


Albany up 8-6 after 3.


Bandits win 13-8.


Yes, all the goals were scored in the net the Bandits defended to start the game.  Both teams were shutout for 2 quarters & they were the ones that each team normally plays its best.


Fun game.  A few good scrums and 1 good fight.


Bandits next game 8 days from now in Ra-cha-cha.

  • Cheers 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites


Thanks for updating the Bandits thread, Taro!


I wonder if this was the first game in league history in which every goal scored was on the same end of the field? If it’s not the first game, then 21 goals must almost certainly be the record for highest total in which that is the case.


Another amusing statistic is that the Bandits are 7-0 this season when playing in the state of New York (5 home games plus Rochester plus Long Island) and 0-1 when playing outside of the state (lone loss in Hamilton). The Bandits have 4 remaining home games (all Saturday nights) plus a game in Rochester next Saturday plus a game in Albany on the following Saturday. They only have 4 more regular season games outside the state: Philadelphia, Denver, Atlanta, and Halifax.


Buffalo’s attendance has unfortunately been awful this season, with a reported five-game average so far of 7,985. It’s been down everywhere across the league, however, mostly due to COVID and poor media coverage for a niche league that many probably forgot had returned after the long hiatus. The Buffalo franchise has additional unique issues because of NYS vaccination regulations, COVID-related border crossing complications with Canada, and general fan discontent with the Sabres that is probably spilling over to the Bandits.


It's a shame, though, that more aren’t following this team because they are likely the odds-on favorites at the moment to win the championship. In a 14-team league, the Bandits have the #1 offense with a 13 goals-per-game average and the #3 defense with a 9.75 goals-per-game average. They have arguably the best lacrosse goalie to have ever played the game. Their defenders and transition corps are above average and feature plenty of young high-end talent. And when clicking, Buffalo’s forwards can be nearly unstoppable. A lot of that forward chemistry comes from last summer’s field lacrosse quartet who won the Premier Lacrosse League championship together on the Chaos (Smith, Byrne, Fraser, and Cloutier). The rookie phenom, Nanticoke, is already fitting in nicely with the vets and is tied for 22nd in the league in goals. Fields is yet another excellent forward who also played for the Chaos team at one point (by the way, so does MacKay and the team’s newest faceoff specialist, Max Adler).


I might as well give a full roster update here and pick up a bit where I left off last April. So last night’s 19-man active roster is probably what Coach Tavares envisions playing every night for the rest of this season when everyone is healthy. Just for fun, I’m including each player’s NLL Entry Draft year and overall draft spot in parentheses:


2 G: Matt Vinc (2005, 6), Doug Buchan (2015, 18)

5 LD/LT: Bryce Sweeting (2015, 32), Justin Martin (2016, 13), Max Adler (2017, undrafted), Ian MacKay (2018, 4), Justin Robinson (2019, 9)

5 RD/RT: Steve Priolo (2009, 21), Kevin Brownell (2012, 22), Ethan O’Connor (2013, 9), Nick Weiss (2013, 17), Matt Spanger (2016, undrafted)

3 LF: Josh Byrne (2017, 1), Chris Cloutier (2018, 2), Connor Fields (2018, 10)

4 RF: Dhane Smith (2012, 5), Kyle Buchanan (2012, 48), Chase Fraser (2017, 13), Tehoka Nanticoke (2021, 3)


There is also a 15-man “reserve bench” of sorts that includes some really excellent depth. These are players who find themselves either on the inactive roster, the practice squad, or lists for IR, PUP, COVID, protected draft picks, and protected contract hold-outs:


1 G: Devlin Shanahan (2018, 43)

4 LD/LT: Joel Matthews (2012, 31), Alec Tulett (2017, 35), Brent Noseworthy (2019, 12), Jordan Stouros (2020, 23)

3 RD/RT: Frank Brown (2017, 24), Marcus Minichiello (2018, undrafted), Dalton Sulver (2020, 76)

5 LF: Justin Guterding (2018, 28), Brad McCulley (2020, 9), Thomas Vaesen (2021, 14), Colin Munro (2021, 26), Nicholas Miller (2021, 62)

2 RF: Nathaniel Kozevnikov (2019, 29), Sam La Roue (2020, 19)


Additional miscellaneous notes regarding the team and the league:


1. In case you were wondering what happened to Liam Patten, the Fort Worth franchise took him in the expansion draft (Buffalo’s 11 protected players: Vinc, Sweeting, Martin, MacKay, Priolo, Spanger, Byrne, Cloutier, McCulley, Smith, Fraser).

2. In case you were wondering what happened to Dan Lintner, he was part of a trade with the Rush last summer in exchange for Justin Robinson.

3. In case you were wondering how Connor Fields magically appeared on the roster, GM Dietrich traded a couple high picks to the Seals for him last summer.

4. Don’t forget that the Bandits played in the most recent championship series! This was way back in late May of 2019 when Calgary swept them. Time flies during a pandemic, does it not? So yes, Buffalo is looking for a repeat finals appearance…with hopefully better luck this time.

5. There is a new playoff format for this 35th NLL season, now that the league split into two divisions: an East division of 8 teams and a West division of 6 teams. The top 4 teams from the East qualify, the top 3 teams from the West qualify, and an 8th playoff seed is reserved for the team with the best regular season record among the remaining bottom 7 teams in the league. The first round is single elimination, while the two semi-finals and the final are a best-of-3 format.

6. Las Vegas was awarded an expansion franchise that will begin play this December during the league’s 36th season. They will be the NLL’s 15th franchise and will (obviously) play in the West division.

  • Like 1
  • Cheers 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

With the official rescheduling of the Halifax away game, here is the rest of Buffalo’s regular season schedule:


Game #11: HOME (tomorrow night!), March 12, Saturday, 7:30pm, Philadelphia

Game #12: HOME, March 26, Saturday, 1pm, Halifax

Game #13: AWAY, March 27, Sunday, 4pm, Halifax

Game #14: AWAY, March 31, Thursday, 7:30pm, Philadelphia

Game #15: AWAY, April 2, Saturday, 9pm, Colorado

Game #16: HOME, April 9, Saturday, 5pm, New York

Game #17: AWAY, April 16, Saturday, 7pm, Georgia

Game #18: HOME, April 30, Saturday, 7:30pm, Toronto


Games #12-15 now form the most difficult stretch of the season: 4 games in 8 days, with 3 of these on the road! At the very least, the Bandits need to split the back-to-back weekend series with Halifax.


Speaking of those Halifax Thunderbirds (a.k.a. the old Rochester Knighthawks franchise), the NLL playoff landscape is becoming clearer. Buffalo and Halifax are neck and neck in the East division and probably the league. One could make a strong case that the Bandits are the current favorites to win the championship because they boast the best record by win percentage (90%), the best offense (13 goals per game), and the third best defense (9.7 goals allowed per game, behind San Diego at 8.67 and Halifax at 9.67). Over in the West division, San Diego and Colorado are fighting for the top seed. Toronto and Vancouver are still in the mix in their respective divisions. All of the other 8 teams in the league have records below 0.500 and negative season goal differentials.


Our latest problem with Halifax is that they just traded for Rochester’s points leader, Shawn Evans, on Wednesday. Was this move enough to give them the edge over Buffalo? We’ll know much more on that in two weekends! But in the meantime, we know that Buffalo is getting a very even distribution of scoring production from their elite forward unit (7 of the top 58 points leaders in the league), has handled not having their defensive captain for the past two games without major issue (Priolo is on the COVID list), and appears to have solved their faceoff troubles with the recent addition of Max Adler from the field lacrosse talent pool. Buffalo’s depth is great, injuries have been minimal, Vinc is holding steady, the team has been clutch (2-0 in overtime, both of which were on the road), and Nanticoke is having an outstanding rookie year (#20-21 in the league in goals scored, with 19).


While looking through league statistics, by the way, I noticed that FIVE former Bandits are currently ranked among this season’s top 25 in points scored: Resetarits (#1), Benesch (#4), Crawford (#5), the aforementioned Shawn Evans (#16-18), and Small (#23)! So on a whim, I assembled a list of every former Bandit (by virtue of games played, drafts, training camp attendance, or any temporary ownership of player services) who is currently on an NLL roster:


Albany (4): F-L Jordan Durston, D-R Anthony Malcom, F-L Ryan Benesch, F-R Joe Resetarits

Calgary (2): D-R Mitch Wilde, F-L Zach Herreweyers

Colorado (1): D-R Tim Edwards

Georgia (1): T-R Vaughn Harris

Halifax (3): D-R David Brock, F-R Chris Boushy, F-R Shawn Evans

New York (6): G-R Gowah Abrams, D-L Jon Harnett, D-R Jay Thorimbert, D-R Damon Edwards, T-R Ryan Fournier, F-R Callum Crawford

Panther City (4): G-L Kevin Orleman, D-R Liam Patten, T-R Jeremy Thompson, F-R Mike Triolo

Philadelphia (7): G-L Zach Higgins, G-L Angus Goodleaf, G-R Nolan Clayton, D-L Ian Llord, T-L Brock Sorensen, F-L Corey Small, F-L Blaze Riorden

Rochester (3): D-L Matthew Bennett, T-R Matt Gilray, F-R Thomas Hoggarth

San Diego (0):

Saskatchewan (5): G-L Eric Penney, D-L Jeff Cornwall, D-L Chris Corbeil, F-L Jeff Shattler, F-R Dan Lintner

Toronto (1): D-L Mitch De Snoo

Vancouver (3): G-R Alex Buque, D-L Brandon Goodwin, F-L Mitch Jones


Do you see any ex-Bandits that you miss dearly?? As much as I like the current composition of our team, I still feel that the defense and transition game could stand to be a bit stronger. A Thorimbert, Thompson, Gilray, Corbeil, or De Snoo would be a welcome acquisition before the upcoming trade deadline. Carpe diem, Bandits! Don’t let the Thunderbirds fly over us!

  • Cheers 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
Taro T

Bandits moving on to the 2nd round which will be a best of 3 vs the Toronto Rock.


They beat Albany 10-5.  The games in Buffalo vs Albany were strange.  In the RS, they played a game where all the goals were scored at 1 end.  This one had only 1 goal apiece in both the 1st & 2nd Q's w/ Albany scoring 1st & then getting answered in both.


The 3rd started w/ Dhane Smith scoring on a break off the opening faceoff win by Max Adler 13 seconds into the 3rd.  The Bandits scored again ~1 minute later.  The Bandits would never relinquish the lead again.  A couple of empty netters I the last minute sealed it.  Both goalies were incredible.

  • Cheers 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
Taro T

Bandits moved on the championship last night w/ a 10-9 win over the "Toronto" Rock that play their home games in that TO "suburb" known as Hamilton.


Very low scoring tight affair through 3, with the Bandits holding a 6-4 lead heading into the final stanza.  After TO brought it back to w/in 1, the Bandits scored the next 3 and it seemed a rout might be on.  But then the Rock scored 3 in ~1 minute to make it a game again.  Frazier scored from pretty far out to make it 10-8 w/ a bit more than 2 minutes to play.  Toronto got that 1 back w/ ~48 seconds left and then after surviving a shot off the post, the Bandits nearly cleared their end w/ 8 or so seconds left, but TO stole set up everybody but the previous game's failed hero Craig to the left & sent the ball to Craig by himself on the right side and this time he didn't muff catching the ball and actually beat Vinc.  But, sadly for Hamilton, er, Toronto, fans, the shot crossed the goal line a fraction of a second after the clock had expired.  Too bad, so sad.


Bandits will face the winner of the San Diego Colorado series for the championship.  That series is tied at 1 apiece as both teams won on the road in the 1st 2 games.

  • Like 1
  • Cheers 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites


Random Saturday morning thought: I get that the new franchise is an expansion team and some growing pains are to be expected,and I’m certainly glad Rochester still has a team as a guy who grew up in Rochester rooting for the original Knighthawks. That being said, with the Pegulas owning both teams I have wondered what is to stop them from using the Knighthawks as a B team for the Bandits and thereby ensuring that they suck in perpetuity. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Taro T
2 hours ago, Chandemonium said:

Random Saturday morning thought: I get that the new franchise is an expansion team and some growing pains are to be expected,and I’m certainly glad Rochester still has a team as a guy who grew up in Rochester rooting for the original Knighthawks. That being said, with the Pegulas owning both teams I have wondered what is to stop them from using the Knighthawks as a B team for the Bandits and thereby ensuring that they suck in perpetuity. 


Probably nothing more than Kim having grown up in Ra-cha-cha.


Also, not sure that the LT plan isn't to sell them to a local ownership group as would expect that MLL has similar concerns but having A team has to be superior to having no team.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Taro T

PS.  The San Diego Colorado game will be tonight at 10PM.  Pretty sure it is an ESPN+ game as it isn't showing on ESPN2.


Winner will be the Bandits' next opponent.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue., Guidelines