Buffalo Bandits goaltender Anthony Cosmo is a true veteran of the National Lacrosse League. He played with three other teams in the NLL before joining the Bandits in the 2012 season. Throughout his career, Cosmo has put up some huge numbers. He has over 65 career assists, over 80 career wins, over 6,000 saves, and over 9,500 minutes played.
Cosmo began playing lacrosse at nine years old. He enjoyed playing all different sports growing up, but lacrosse became his passion. He was drafted into the NLL by the Toronto Rock in 2001. His numbers improved each year that he was with the Rock, going from just a 1-1 record his rookie year to a 5-1 record in 2004.
The next chapter of Cosmo’s career saw him playing with the Vancouver Stealth franchise. 2007 saw him post an 8-5 record and his first career playoff victory. Cosmo then spent three seasons with the Boston Blazers before joining the Minnesota Swarm.
Cosmo considered retiring before the 2012 season. He had been through a stage in his career where travel took up a lot of his free time when he was with the Stealth on the West Coast. Having a family and a teaching career made it hard for him to commit to flying in and out every weekend.
“I had to seriously consider my family and my future,” Cosmo said. “I couldn’t travel like that again. It may have been easier when I was younger and didn’t have a family. I had no hard feelings about the Swarm organization at all, I just couldn’t travel that much.”
On February 17, 2012, Cosmo was traded to the Buffalo Bandits from the Swarm in exchange for Buffalo’s 2013 and 2014 first-round draft picks.
“When I saw what Buffalo gave up for me, I thought ‘oh man, that’s a big price,” said Cosmo. “I knew I had to perform well.”
Cosmo also has been around for a coaching change in Buffalo. He enjoyed playing for head coach Troy Cordingley.
“I have a bigger voice now,” said the Bandits goalie. “I can tell the defense where I’d like them to stand, or who I want to have a shot. It’s nice to have that kind of voice.”
He has performed well in his time as a Bandit. 2014 saw Cosmo break the all-time saves record for the NLL. Even though it was the first season with an 18-game format, he actually broke the record (set by Rochester Knighthawks goalie Matt Vinc in 2013) in the 16th game.
“It feels good to set a record like that, especially at this stage of my career,” he said. “It also feels good to break a record set by Matt Vinc, he’s a great goalie in this league.”
In Buffalo’s two trips to the playoffs with him on the roster, Cosmo has been a solid backstop between the pipes. In 2012, he allowed just seven goals in a first-round loss to the Toronto Rock. In four postseason games in 2014, he allowed just 36 goals and posted a .760 save percentage.
Cosmo has several memories of his time spent in the league. He is always likely to call a big save “lucky” or say “the ball just hit me.”
“The biggest save I can remember is last season,” said Cosmo humbly. “I was completely down and out, managed to get my stick up, and save the shot with my stick. I got lucky.”
That save might be topped by Cosmo’s stick save this season against the Calgary Roughnecks.
Cosmo’s all-time favorite assist came on a play where he was falling backwards and completed a behind the back pass to a teammate who was breaking away.
In Week 8 of the 2015 season, Cosmo dropped in a perfect outlet pass to teammate Alex Kedoh Hill who broke away for the score.
The Bandits goaltender doesn’t have any goals in his career, despite having open nets at the other end of the floor at the end of games.
Cosmo continues to lead the Bandits this season, having started every game of the first eight weeks in the 2015 campaign. He already has helped lead Buffalo’s resurgence and surely will want to add a Champion’s Cup to his résumé in his time with the Bandits.
By Steve Bermel (@BanditsBeat) for NLL.com. Photo by Micheline Veluvolu.