Buffalo Bandits (5-4) host the Colorado Mammoth (2-7) at First Niagara Center on Saturday at 7:30pm ET. (Photo: Bill Wippert)
Coming off a weekend where the Buffalo Bandits (5-4) were within 3.7 seconds of a tie for first place in the East Division, the team prepares to host the last-place Colorado Mammoth (2-7) at First Niagara Center on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Watch the game live on YouTube via The Lacrosse Network.
Despite Colorado’s substandard record, Buffalo knows they have a quality opponent on their hands.
“[Colorado is] a wounded animal right now and that’s the most dangerous animal,” said Bandits assistant coach Rich Kilgour. “No game is going to be taken lightly in this league. With 16 games, you never know which is going to be the one that puts you in or puts you out [of the playoffs].”
Saturday’s matchup in Buffalo will be the Mammoth’s second of the weekend after their 14-10 loss to the Toronto Rock on Friday night, when they were doomed by special teams by going 0-for-4 on the power play and allowing the Rock to go 6-for-8 with the man advantage.
It’s a similar scenario the Bandits faced last weekend, playing in Toronto before heading to Buffalo for the second leg of a back-to-back.
It was the second leg against Philadelphia in which Buffalo had a golden opportunity to come out of the weekend with two victories. But Wings forward Jordan Hall sent the game to overtime in the dying seconds of regulation, and Drew Westervelt ultimately finished it 2:14 into the extra frame.
“[We were] three seconds left from a really perfect weekend,” Kilgour said. “But you can’t leave any tears in your [drink]. You’ve got to learn from it.”
It was around the midpoint of the season last year when Colorado visited the place many call "Banditland" and they left with a 16-13 road victory. That win improved the Mammoth’s record to 7-1, a far cry from their abysmal start in 2013.
Despite coming in with a very different record and a five-game losing streak, the Mammoth have confidence they can replicate last year’s performance in Buffalo.
“We had some success there last year,” said Mammoth head coach Bob Hamley. “It is a very tough place to play. It reminds me a lot of the Pepsi Center in Denver; really raucous crowd and very knowledgeable fan base.”
The Bandits may be without John Tavares for the game, as Buffalo’s captain and the NLL’s all-time leading scorer re-aggravated the calf injury that kept him out of three games prior to playing both games last week.
Kilgour would not rule Tavares out for this week, but said that the 44-year-old will be a game-time decision.