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 Buffalo Bandits

Shanahan Makes 46 Saves in Loss to FireWolves

February 25, 2024 - National Lacrosse League (NLL)
Buffalo Bandits News Release

Dhane Smith and Josh Byrne each recorded six points in the 13-10 loss.

Buffalo Bandits goaltender Devlin Shanahan made 46 saves in his first NLL start, but it wasn't enough as the Albany FireWolves came away with a 13-10 win over the Bandits at KeyBank Center on Saturday.

Bandits coach John Tavares thought that lopsided penalties were the difference in the game as the FireWolves went 4-for-8 on the power play while the Bandits were unable to convert on their one power-play opportunity.

"Overall, we played well. I thought Shanny did a great job and I thought defense was good," Tavares said. "But defense was on the floor, again, too much. The big difference is how many penalties we took."

Albany scored its four power play goals in the first half to take an 8-7 lead over Buffalo at halftime in a physical, back-and-forth affair. The FireWolves came out in the second half and controlled possession, using a three-goal run to pull ahead by four. The Bandits tried to claw back in the final minutes with Shanahan on the bench for an extra attacker, but they were unable to complete the comeback.

Buffalo was led by the trio of Dhane Smith (0+6), Josh Byrne (3+3) and Chris Cloutier (2+3). Kyle Buchanan (2+0) and Chase Fraser (1+1) also had multi-point nights. Shanahan's 46 stops on 59 shots were enough for a .780 save percentage as Matt Vinc was placed on injured reserve prior to the game due to an injury.

"I was confident with him (Shanahan) going in and I thought he did a great job," Tavares said. "They have a lot of great shooters on that team, and I thought he was stellar in net."

The FireWolves were led by their rookie duo of Tye Kurtz, who posted a seven-point performance with six goals and an assist, and Alex Simmons, who tallied a goal and five assists. Goaltender Doug Jamieson continued his undefeated streak in between the pipes, posting 46 saves to climb to 8-0 this season.

The FireWolves improved to 8-2 with the win while the Bandits dropped to 5-5 with their second consecutive loss.

Playing without Vinc, it was evident from the start of the game that the Bandits didn't lose a step with Shanahan in net. Shanahan and the Bandits defense made four saves and forced two shot clock violations in the opening minutes. Buffalo held a 2-0 lead before Albany was finally able to find the back of the net in the first.

"It wasn't really addressed but naturally, it's in the back of your mind, we wanted to get that win for Shanny," transition player Ian MacKay said.

The Bandits continued to play strong defense, but a scrum in front of their own bench put three Bandits in the penalty box, putting Buffalo on a 5-on-3 penalty kill just five minutes into the game.

Buchanan thought that the team's emotions got the best of them and resulted in a loss of the momentum they had to start the game.

"We've done it four straight games pretty much dating back to the game in Toronto," Buchanan said. "We're having good starts and then something happens, we have a couple breakdowns, get a little emotional, and then we start going to the box. It just kills all momentum."

The Bandits had a chance to come back in the third and fourth quarters but struggled to capitalize on their opportunities, scoring just three goals in the second half.

Here's more from the loss.

In between the pipes

Vinc had previously started every game for the Bandits since he joined the team during the 2018-19 season. It was the first time in his career that he missed a game since becoming a starting goaltender in 2007.

"I think Matty was a little lost, he didn't know what to do or where to go," Tavares joked. "He's not accustomed to not playing, so it was a bit different for him obviously."

While Buffalo has one of the biggest goalie rooms in the NLL, it seemed an easy choice for the Bandits to play Shanahan. The 24-year-old has watched Vinc work every practice for the last few years.

"Shanny has been a backup for how long now? A long time," Buchanan said. "I was happy to see him in there, he played pretty well. He played well enough for us to win - that's no question."


A trio of Bandits made their season debuts in the loss.

Defenseman Frank Brown, who was activated from the physically unable to perform list prior to the game, played in his first game for the Bandits since the 2021-22 season.

Fellow defenseman Zack Belter made his NLL debut after signing a two-year deal with Buffalo this past September.

Transition player Cory Highfield also made his Bandits debut after being acquired in a trade with the Rochester Knighthawks on Thursday.

Next time out

The Bandits will look to get back in the win column when they take on the Vancouver Warriors in Vancouver on Friday. Faceoff is set for 10 p.m.

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