Sports stats

 Toronto Rock

Bandits Rally to End Rock's Season

May 5, 2024 - National Lacrosse League (NLL)
Toronto Rock News Release

Buffalo, NY - The Buffalo Bandits staged a six-goal fourth quarter run to defeat the Toronto Rock 10-8 on Sunday night in Buffalo, NY to win the NLL Semifinals Series 2-0 and advance to the NLL Finals.

Buffalo will now face Albany for a chance to go back-to-back and win their sixth championship which would tie the Rock for the most in NLL history.

After an uncharacteristic performance in game one, the Rock had no choice but to play a better 60-minute game in order to keep their season alive. On this night, the Rock carried the play and controlled the game for the first three quarters but in the end, the reigning champion Bandits fought to finish the series on home floor and avoid a trip back to Rock City for game three.

With the Bandits up 1-0, the Rock scored a pair of goals just 29 seconds apart to take the lead 2-1. Buffalo answered with a goal to tie the game. The Rock went down two men after both Mitch de Snoo and Bill Hostrawser took minor penalties on the same play. Buffalo took advantage with a power play goal and held a 3-2 lead after one.

An early Buffalo penalty led to an early Rock power play and a man up tally from Corey Small to tie the game 3-3. From there, it was all Rock in the second quarter. Buffalo's Ian MacKay took a high-sticking major penalty and the Rock cashed in with two power play goals, one from Mark Matthews and one from Tom Schreiber. Corey Small added an even strength goal while taking flight coming across the crease to stuff the ball inside the far post. The Rock headed into halftime with a 6-3 lead.

Buffalo's Dhane Smith scored to break up the Rock's four-goal run a few minutes into the third quarter. It was a 20:19 stretch in which the Rock held the Bandits without a goal. Seven and a half minutes later, the Rock got a transition goal from an unlikely source in the form of stay-at-home defender Chris Weier who looked like a goal scorer, burying a shot past Vinc to put the Rock up 7-4 after three quarters.

Matthews notched his second of the game with a perfect shot past the right leg of Vince to put Toronto up by four, 8-4. But the Bandits weren't going to lay down in front of their fans. The home side scored three goals in 1:49 to close the gap to just one. Moments after that, they tied the game on a delayed penalty to Corey Small, Chase Fraser scored, and it was a brand new ball game with 8:20 remaining. Buffalo rode that momentum, scoring twice more to make it 10-8 with 4:45 remaining. The Rock couldn't muster a comeback in the late going.

"No words really," said Rose. "Obviously, it's starting to become a little sickening every year. Our season ends here, against these guys at least, but they're a really good team and they stepped up in the fourth quarter and took that game away from us. It sucks, but not really much to say about it other than I love the guys in our room and will go to battle for each and every guy any time."

The Rock were 3-for-6 on the power play while the Bandits went 1-for-4 with the man advantage.

"As a group and as a team those guys in that room they did change," explained Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer about his team's focus on delivering a different result than a year ago. "They changed how they prepared for the season and what they did throughout the season, and we felt we were set up for success but found out at the end that it wasn't good enough."

For more information on 2024-25 Toronto Rock tickets, please contact a Toronto Rock account executive by phone at 416-596-3075, by email at or visit

• Discuss this story on the National Lacrosse League message board...

National Lacrosse League Stories from May 5, 2024

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

Other Recent Toronto Rock Stories

Sports Statistics from the Stats Crew
OurSports Central