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Blazers Set to Battle Division Leader Bandits in Divisional Semifinals

April 29, 2011 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Boston Blazers News Release

Boston, MA (April 29, 2011) The Boston Blazers (8-8) travel to upstate New York tomorrow evening to challenge the Buffalo Bandits (10-6) in the first round of the 2011 National Lacrosse League Playoffs at 7:30pm at the HSBC Arena.

For the third time since their inauguration, the Blazers clinched a playoff berth and enter postseason action as the #4 seed in the East. Boston has yet to win in postseason play having lost previously to the Bandits in 2009 and in 2010 to the Orlando Titans.

Blazers' Head Coach Matt Sawyer leads Boston in his first playoff game as an NLL head coach and believes that despite his team's midseason struggles, their .500 record is inconsequential once the postseason begins.

"No matter what we did in the season, we knew that we would be judged by how we perform in the playoffs," said Sawyer. "We had our struggles throughout the regular season and I think we are stronger because of it."

Saturday will mark the seventh overall meeting of the two teams with Buffalo taking the regular season series, 2-1. On March 6, Buffalo claimed a close 9-8 decision over the Blazers in the TD Garden. The Blazers saw an outstanding offensive effort from Captain Dan Dawson (seven points: five goals, two assists) while defensively Kyle Rubisch led the team with eleven loose balls. Goaltender Anthony Cosmo stood strong between the pipes stopping 25 of the 33 shots he faced.

The two teams met again just a week later on March 12 in Buffalo when the Bandits claimed their second victory in a 12-10 final. Josh Sanderson (five points: two goals, three assists), Casey Powell (six points: two goals, four assists) and Dawson (seven points: one goal, six assists), led the Blazers offense.

The teams' final meeting and Boston's final game of the regular season came on Saturday, April 16 when the Blazers claimed a 16-9 victory on the road. The Blazers saw strong offensive play from Kevin Buchanan who tallied five goals and four assists. Rubisch scooped a team leading 10 loose balls in the contest and Cosmo recorded 38 saves on 47 shots on goal.

The winner of this single elimination game will face the victor of Sunday's Toronto vs. Rochester game in the Eastern Divisional Final. The NLL Championship Game will be played the weekend of May 14 and aired on VERSUS.

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