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Kyle Clancy Shines But Bandits Lose a Tough One to Toronto

Bandits newcomer and surefire fan favorite Kyle Clancy continued to impress tonight, scoring 2 goals and 5 assists. Toronto’s Colin Doyle made his own mark as one of the immortals of the game, becoming only the third player in National Lacrosse League history to score 1000 points. Fights galore and a pileup after Buffalo goaltender Ken Montour got run in the crease in the second quarter.

All this and more made for an entertaining game tonight at HSBC Arena, before a crowd of 14,467, including a sprinkling of Rock fans who made the trip from as far away as Ontario and as close as Elmwood Village.

When it was all over it was the Toronto Rock who got the win, thanks to a strong fourth quarter, where they scored five unanswered goals to defeat Buffalo 14-10.

Buffalo played an almost flawless first quarter, ending with a 3-1 lead. Frank Resetarits undressed the Toronto defenders to give the Bandits a 2-0 lead, and Billy Dee Smith scored shorthanded on a breakaway to make the score 3-1.

Toronto took over in the second quarter, however, scoring seven goals, the last three of the frame coming on the power play, as the Bandits continued to get into penalty trouble throughout the quarter.

After Toronto opened the third quarter to take its biggest lead of the night, the Bandits came storming back to tie it at 9, with goals by Brett Bucktooth, Roger Vyse and Mark Steenhuis. Both teams settled down with good goaltending at both ends, and Mike Accursi then gave the Bandits a 10-9 lead very late in the frame.

The Rock retook the lead early in the 4th, thanks to a pair of quick goals by Bandit-killer Blaine Manning. The 10th and tying Toronto goal was clearly a crease violation, but the Bandits failed to produce the required challenge flag within 10 seconds as stated by rule. Toronto would add three more goals, including a late empty netter to seal the deal. That would be all the scoring in the game as the Bandits were held scoreless for the entire quarter. Final score Toronto 14, Buffalo 10.

“I don’t believe that game was lost in the fourth quarter,” said forward Mike Accursi. We didn’t execute our game plan the way we wanted to. They are a good team. We weren’t that good tonight.” Coach Darris Kilgour fumed after the game, “It (the fourth quarter) was a replay of our first four games. We’re making bad decisions again.”

Kyle Clancy continued to make a big splash since joining the team off the practice squad last week. Said Accursi, “He was getting good looks and getting cutters. He was probably our spark tonight. Hats off to him he played well.” Kilgour added, “I didn’t expect this out of him. It’s a bonus, but if our best player is a 19 year old kid then we’re in bigger trouble than I thought.”

Clancy handled the media questions like a polished veteran. “It felt good, I am getting comfortable and that’ll help us get some wins hopefully.” Clancy has been welcomed with open arms by his teammates since joining the team. “They treat me like family and hopefully we’ll get clicking here sooner than later.”

Over in the visitors locker room, the Toronto Rock were saluting their own Colin Doyle, who took his place in indoor lacrosse history, and was also given recognition during the game by the Buffalo public address announcer. Doyle downplayed his accomplishment while speaking about the win. “We played really well. I’m proud the way everyone stepped up today.” As to hitting the 1000 point mark, Doyle said, “It was pretty special to join the company like that. It says something about how long and how hard one has played in this league. I’m proud of it and to be with Gary (Gait) and John (Tavares) is a pretty big honor.”

The reeling Bandits, now 1-5 on the season, head to Philadelphia next week to face the Wings, then come home in three weeks to face the same Philadelphia Wings at HSBC Arena. Game time on February 27 is 7:30 PM.