After two emotional losses to start the postseason, the Buffalo Bandits and Colorado Mammoth are left wondering what could have been since being eliminated from the 2015 NLL Playoffs last weekend in the Division Semifinal round. Even tougher is the fact that they were both knocked out by teams, the Rochester Knighthawks and Calgary Roughnecks, that have a history of getting the better of them of late. Preview Bob Chavez’s story on IL Indoor below to read more about recent trends between the teams.
“Losing in the playoffs is one thing. For the Buffalo Bandits and Colorado Mammoth, it’s become quite another,” Chavez writes. “The Buffalo Bandits lost to the Rochester Knighthawks on Friday for the fourth time this season, which means they’ve had their National Lacrosse League season ended by Rochester two straight seasons. But if you think that looks bad, or Buffalo’s 1-6 record against Rochester the last 2 seasons, wait until you see what Calgary’s been doing to Colorado lately.”
Lately, of course, is a relative term. If you’re Calgary, time flies when you’re winning in the playoffs. The flip side of that is Colorado’s agony. And when your season ends in the playoffs to Calgary, like it did on Saturday, for the sixth time in eight seasons, there’s some agony.
Buffalo knows the feeling, at least to a lesser degree in that it’s lost to the same team twice in ending its season, not six.
“It’s hard to beat anyone three times in a season, let alone four,” Bandits forward John Tavares told the Buffalo News. “We did make some strides this season, but we need to get on our home floor for these games. It would give us that extra bit of confidence.”
Bandits coach Troy Cordingley suggested that his team’s schedule down the stretch – final 6 games were against non-playoff teams – may have come into play in Friday’s loss.
“That’s a combination of that they are the best defense in the league, and we didn’t do what we did in the last four, five games,” Cordingley told the Buffalo News. “We played into their hands … We were not good. I was disappointed … They outwilled us in every way. It’s a bitter pill to swallow.”
The Bandits may have unwittingly provided a bit of motivation against themselves. When they traded Joe Resetarits to Rochester for Jamie Batson and some draft picks, they didn’t realize they were trading away 17 goals in 8 games, 4 of which came on Friday in his first game against Buffalo…
As for the Mammoth, it’s turning into a long list of pain. Calgary has ended Colorado’s season in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2011, 2009 and 2008. Before that, the Mammoth beat Calgary in their NLL championship season of 2006 and lost to Calgary in 2004.
So yeah, the Mammoth are getting tired of this.
“We matched them in shots but didn’t have the right shots,” Colorado co-coach Dan Stroup told NLL.com. “It’s disappointing; it’s not the way we wanted to end our season. Right now, the guys are feeling it.”
What’s frustrating for the Mammoth is they know they can be Calgary. They’re 11-10 against the Roughnecks since 2008 in the regular season, but they just can’t get over the hump when it matters most.
And much like the Resetarits situation in Rochester, the Roughnecks had a motivated player in Sean Pollock. It wasn’t his first game against the team that traded him during the season, nor was it his first win against the Mammoth. But it was his first playoff win and it was his goal, the first of the game at 1:14 of the first quarter, that got the Riggers started.