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Dominant Third Quarter Helps Buffalo Pull Away From Toronto in Game One of the East Conference Finals

After building a three-goal halftime lead, the Buffalo Bandits outscored Toronto 6-0 in the third quarter on their way to a 14-5 win over the Rock in game one of the best-of-three East Conference Finals in front of 11,500 fans at KeyBank Center in Buffalo.

The Bandits can complete the series sweep and punch their ticket to their third straight NLL Finals with a win in game two on Saturday night at FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton (7pm ET TSN, TSN+, ESPN+).

Dhane Smith dished out eight assists while Josh Byrne scored five goals to go along with two assists. Tehoka Nanticoke and Chris Cloutier each had two goals and an assist. Matt Vinc made 52 saves in his NLL record 41st career playoff game as the Bandits are now just one win away from the 12th NLL Finals appearance in franchise history.

The Rock outshot the Bandits 57-41, won the face-off battle 17-6 and had 60 ground balls to Buffalo’s 51, but they had a hard time all night getting the ball past Vinc who recorded the highest single-game save percentage (.912) in Bandits post-season history.

Buffalo held a 4-3 lead after one quarter and then a pair of goals from Byrne in the second quarter ballooned the Bandits lead to three at the break before the third quarter explosion.

For the Rock, Tom Schreiber had two goals and two assists in his return to the lineup after missing the quarterfinal win over Halifax with a lower-body injury. Challen Rogers led Toronto with three goals and two assists for five points. Zach Manns had three assists while goalie Nick Rose made 17 saves.

If Toronto wins game two at home on Saturday night, they would force a game three would back in Buffalo on Saturday May 28th.