The Buffalo Bandits are in their third straight National Lacross League finals, and their second straight against the Colorado Mammoth. (They previously lost the title to the Calgary Roughnecks in 2019; the 2020 and 2021 seasons were cancelled during the COVID pandemic)
The Bandits played game one Sunday night without injured star forward Josh Byrne, but the rest of the team stepped up. Two-time MVP Dhane Smith scored four goals in the first quarter alone, and they played the Mammoth close until the final buzzer, where Buffalo came out head 13-12.
The series moved to Denver for game 2 Tuesday night, and Smith led the Bandits again with eight points and six assists, but it wasn’t enough, as the Mammoth won 16-10 to force game three. In the past two postseasons, Colorado is now 8-0 in games where they risk elimination.
Which doesn’t bode well when the series returns to Buffalo on Saturday, as it’s a do-or-die match with a title on the line. Colorado has won it all twice — last year and in 2006 — both times at the expense of the Bandits. Buffalo is going for “one for the thumb,” having won it in 1992, ’93, ’96, and 2008. This is the Bandits’ 12th finals appearance, most in league history.
Game 3 will be played at KeyBank, and airs on ESPN+/TSN at 7:30 on Saturday, June 3.