By now, the Buffalo Bandits and Colorado Mammoth are well acquainted with each other as they prepare for winner take all Game 3 of the 2023 NLL Finals. This will be the fourth matchup this season and eighth in the last two seasons. Ahead of Game 3, we decided to look at some interesting metrics and data points surrounding each team and their hopes to raise the NLL Cup on Saturday night. Make sure to catch the game on Saturday, June 3 at 7:30pm ET available on TSN, TSN+, and ESPN+.
- Buffalo has scored first in all five playoff games. On the season the Bandits are 13-4 when scoring first.
- The last time the NLL Finals saw the top overall seed taking on the lowest ranking seed was the 2008 NLL Finals, with the high seed Buffalo defeating the low seeded Portland LumberJax.
- Buffalo has loved the powerplay, scoring eight powerplay goals on nine opportunities in the NLL Finals. They also scored a shorthanded goal in their Game 1 win.
- Dhane Smith has already surpassed his point total from last season’s playoffs with 40 through five games this year compared to 35 in six games last year. With one more point, he will tie Eli McLaughlin’s record from last season for most points in a single postseason. With one goal, he will surpass Mark Steenhuis for ninth on the all-time playoff list.
- Matt Vinc has played a league record 13 NLL Finals games in his career with one more potentially to come. With a win, he would be the first goaltender with 30 career playoff wins.
- Max Adler has helped the Bandits get consistent possession off the face-off, winning 64.4% of his draws in the NLL Finals, up from his 50.7% in the regular season.
- Despite his off performance in Game 2, Matt Vinc still leads the NLL in save percentage among goalies in the postseason who have played at least 60 minutes at 81%. His 9.82 goals against average is still second among goalies.
- The Bandits have outscored the Mammoth this postseason 74-70 despite playing one less game. They have also allowed 13 less goals this postseason.
- Prior to the NLL Finals, the Bandits never trailed at any point during this postseason.
- The six goal differential in Game 2 is the most in the NLL Finals since Game 1 of the 2018 NLL Finals between Saskatchewan and Rochester, a 16-9 victory for the Rush.
- No team in NLL history has made it to the Finals three seasons in a row and lost all three.
- Teams hosting the deciding third game of a NLL playoff series are 4-5 all-time (including mini-games).
- In win or go home playoff games the past two seasons, the Mammoth are a perfect 7-0.
- The last time the lowest seed entering the playoffs made it to the NLL Finals was the 2012 Edmonton Rush. The last time the lowest seed entering the playoffs won the Championship was the 1997 Rochester Knighthawks defeating the Buffalo Bandits. It has only happened one other time with the 1987 Baltimore Thunder (now Colorado Mammoth franchise) in the then known Eagle Pro Box Lacrosse League in its first season.
- Four teams have completed the comeback after losing Game 1 of a playoff series (including mini-games). Only once has it been done with a full Game 3, Colorado in 2022.
- Warren Jeffrey is a perfect 2-2 on shots this postseason. He only scored one goal in the 18 regular seasons games he played. Tim Edwards has three goals this postseason after having none in the regular season. The Mammoth are 3-0 in games when Edwards scores.
- Colorado’s 16 goals in Game 2 is the most in an NLL Finals game since Game 1 of the 2017 Finals when Georgia scored 18 against Saskatchewan.
- Mammoth goaltender, Dillon Ward, surpassed Pat O’Toole for the second most saves in postseason history. He now trails just Bandits goalie, Matt Vinc.
- All seven Mammoth forwards scored at least one goal during their Game 2 win.
- The Mammoth defense has caused 20 turnovers, compared to nine for Buffalo in the NLL Finals.
- Mammoth Head Coach, Pat Coyle, now has an 11-11 postseason record as coach. His 11 wins are tied for 7th all-time with Ed Comeau and Chris Hall. Should Colorado win, he will move up to a tie with Darris Kilgour. With a win, he will also win his seventh NLL title (five as a player, two as a coach).
- The Mammoth are a perfect 9-0 this season when leading after three quarters. The Bandits are 12-1.
- Of the 19 Mammoth players to have played during this seasons Final, 16 of them were on the championship roster from last season.
- Missing the Finals last season due to injury, Ryan Lee has contributed 13 points in the first two games of the series (6g, 7a), tied with Eli McLaughlin for the team lead. McLaughlin would miss Games 2 and 3 of last season’s NLL Finals for the Mammoth.