fbpx

Get gameday ready with NLLShop.com and NLLStore.ca Shop Now

×
WK
1
Fri, Dec 2
6:00 pm ET
Wings
Thunderbirds
Sat, Dec 3
5:00 pm ET
Warriors
Rock
Sat, Dec 3
7:30 pm ET
FireWolves
Bandits
Sat, Dec 3
7:30 pm ET
Seals
Riptide
Sat, Dec 3
8:00 pm ET
Knighthawks
Swarm
Sat, Dec 3
8:30 pm ET
Mammoth
Rush
WK
2
Fri, Dec 9
8:30 pm ET
Desert Dogs
Panther City
Fri, Dec 9
10:00 pm ET
Rush
Seals
Sat, Dec 10
7:00 pm ET
Rock
Knighthawks
Sat, Dec 10
9:30 pm ET
Warriors
Roughnecks
WK
3
Fri, Dec 16
10:00 pm ET
Roughnecks
Warriors
Fri, Dec 16
10:30 pm ET
Panther City
Desert Dogs
Sat, Dec 17
7:00 pm ET
Bandits
Rock
Sat, Dec 17
7:00 pm ET
Wings
Swarm
Sat, Dec 17
7:00 pm ET
Knighthawks
FireWolves
Sat, Dec 17
7:30 pm ET
Thunderbirds
Riptide
Sat, Dec 17
8:00 pm ET
Mammoth
Panther City
WK
5
Fri, Dec 30
7:30 pm ET
Thunderbirds
Bandits
Fri, Dec 30
9:00 pm ET
Seals
Roughnecks
Sat, Dec 31
9:00 pm ET
Panther City
Rush
WK
6
Fri, Jan 6
10:30 pm ET
Wings
Desert Dogs
Sat, Jan 7
7:00 pm ET
Bandits
Swarm
Sat, Jan 7
7:00 pm ET
Panther City
Knighthawks
Sat, Jan 7
7:00 pm ET
Thunderbirds
FireWolves
Sat, Jan 7
7:30 pm ET
Rock
Riptide
Sat, Jan 7
10:00 pm ET
Roughnecks
Mammoth
Sat, Jan 7
10:00 pm ET
Warriors
Seals
WK
7
Fri, Jan 13
6:30 pm ET
FireWolves
Thunderbirds
Fri, Jan 13
9:00 pm ET
Rush
Mammoth
Sat, Jan 14
7:00 pm ET
Thunderbirds
Rock
Sat, Jan 14
7:00 pm ET
Panther City
Wings
Sat, Jan 14
7:30 pm ET
Swarm
Bandits
Sat, Jan 14
9:00 pm ET
Seals
Roughnecks
Sat, Jan 14
10:00 pm ET
Desert Dogs
Warriors
Sun, Jan 15
3:00 pm ET
Knighthawks
Riptide
WK
8
Fri, Jan 20
7:30 pm ET
Bandits
Knighthawks
Fri, Jan 20
10:30 pm ET
Warriors
Desert Dogs
Sat, Jan 21
7:00 pm ET
Rock
Wings
Sat, Jan 21
7:00 pm ET
Riptide
FireWolves
WK
9
Fri, Jan 27
6:00 pm ET
Knighthawks
Thunderbirds
Fri, Jan 27
7:00 pm ET
Bandits
Wings
Sat, Jan 28
7:30 pm ET
Bandits
Riptide
Sat, Jan 28
8:30 pm ET
Desert Dogs
Rush
Sat, Jan 28
9:00 pm ET
Rock
Roughnecks
Sat, Jan 28
9:00 pm ET
Seals
Mammoth
Sat, Jan 28
10:00 pm ET
Panther City
Warriors
WK
10
Fri, Feb 3
9:00 pm ET
Swarm
Mammoth
Sat, Feb 4
6:00 pm ET
Roughnecks
Thunderbirds
Sat, Feb 4
7:00 pm ET
Riptide
Rock
Sat, Feb 4
7:00 pm ET
FireWolves
Wings
Sat, Feb 4
7:30 pm ET
Knighthawks
Bandits
Sat, Feb 4
10:00 pm ET
Panther City
Seals
Sat, Feb 4
10:00 pm ET
Rush
Warriors
Sat, Feb 4
10:30 pm ET
Mammoth
Desert Dogs
WK
11
Fri, Feb 10
7:30 pm ET
Rock
Swarm
Fri, Feb 10
9:00 pm ET
Rush
Roughnecks
Sat, Feb 11
7:00 pm ET
Thunderbirds
Knighthawks
Sat, Feb 11
7:30 pm ET
FireWolves
Riptide
Sat, Feb 11
8:00 pm ET
Warriors
Panther City
Sat, Feb 11
9:00 pm ET
Mammoth
Roughnecks
WK
12
Fri, Feb 17
10:00 pm ET
Rush
Seals
Fri, Feb 17
10:00 pm ET
Roughnecks
Warriors
Sat, Feb 18
7:00 pm ET
Swarm
Rock
Sat, Feb 18
7:00 pm ET
Desert Dogs
FireWolves
Sat, Feb 18
7:30 pm ET
Wings
Bandits
Sat, Feb 18
8:00 pm ET
Mammoth
Panther City
Sun, Feb 19
1:00 pm ET
Riptide
Thunderbirds
WK
13
Fri, Feb 24
9:00 pm ET
Panther City
Mammoth
Fri, Feb 24
10:30 pm ET
Roughnecks
Desert Dogs
Sat, Feb 25
7:00 pm ET
FireWolves
Swarm
Sat, Feb 25
7:00 pm ET
Riptide
Knighthawks
Sat, Feb 25
8:00 pm ET
Warriors
Rush
WK
14
Fri, Mar 3
6:30 pm ET
Bandits
Thunderbirds
Sat, Mar 4
11:30 am ET
Riptide
Wings
Sat, Mar 4
4:00 pm ET
Desert Dogs
Seals
Sat, Mar 4
7:00 pm ET
Knighthawks
Rock
Sat, Mar 4
7:00 pm ET
Swarm
FireWolves
Sat, Mar 4
8:00 pm ET
Rush
Panther City
Mon, Mar 6
7:00 pm ET
Rock
Wings
WK
15
Fri, Mar 10
7:30 pm ET
Thunderbirds
Bandits
Fri, Mar 10
9:00 pm ET
Roughnecks
Mammoth
Sat, Mar 11
7:00 pm ET
FireWolves
Rock
Sat, Mar 11
7:30 pm ET
Wings
Riptide
Sat, Mar 11
8:30 pm ET
Seals
Rush
Sat, Mar 11
10:30 pm ET
Warriors
Desert Dogs
Sun, Mar 12
4:00 pm ET
Knighthawks
Swarm
WK
16
Fri, Mar 17
9:00 pm ET
Rush
Roughnecks
Fri, Mar 17
10:00 pm ET
Seals
Warriors
Sat, Mar 18
11:00 am ET
Swarm
Wings
Sat, Mar 18
6:00 pm ET
Rock
Thunderbirds
Sat, Mar 18
7:30 pm ET
Mammoth
Bandits
Sat, Mar 18
7:30 pm ET
FireWolves
Riptide
Sat, Mar 18
8:00 pm ET
Desert Dogs
Panther City
Sun, Mar 19
3:00 pm ET
Wings
Knighthawks
WK
17
Fri, Mar 24
8:30 pm ET
Seals
Panther City
Sat, Mar 25
7:00 pm ET
Thunderbirds
Wings
Sat, Mar 25
7:00 pm ET
Rock
FireWolves
Sat, Mar 25
7:30 pm ET
Swarm
Riptide
Sat, Mar 25
9:30 pm ET
Roughnecks
Rush
Sat, Mar 25
10:00 pm ET
Bandits
Seals
Sat, Mar 25
10:00 pm ET
Mammoth
Warriors
Sat, Mar 25
10:30 pm ET
Knighthawks
Desert Dogs
WK
18
Fri, Mar 31
7:00 pm ET
Riptide
Swarm
Fri, Mar 31
9:00 pm ET
Desert Dogs
Mammoth
Fri, Mar 31
10:00 pm ET
Roughnecks
Seals
Sat, Apr 1
7:00 pm ET
Bandits
Rock
Sat, Apr 1
8:00 pm ET
FireWolves
Panther City
Sat, Apr 1
9:30 pm ET
Warriors
Rush
Sun, Apr 2
1:00 pm ET
Swarm
Thunderbirds
Sun, Apr 2
6:00 pm ET
Knighthawks
Wings
WK
19
Sat, Apr 8
7:00 pm ET
Rush
Swarm
Sat, Apr 8
7:00 pm ET
FireWolves
Knighthawks
Sat, Apr 8
9:00 pm ET
Panther City
Roughnecks
Sat, Apr 8
9:00 pm ET
Warriors
Mammoth
Sat, Apr 8
10:30 pm ET
Seals
Desert Dogs
WK
20
Fri, Apr 14
9:00 pm ET
Desert Dogs
Roughnecks
Fri, Apr 14
9:00 pm ET
Seals
Mammoth
Sat, Apr 15
7:00 pm ET
Wings
Rock
Sat, Apr 15
7:00 pm ET
Swarm
FireWolves
Sat, Apr 15
7:30 pm ET
Riptide
Bandits
Sat, Apr 15
9:30 pm ET
Thunderbirds
Rush
Sat, Apr 15
10:00 pm ET
Panther City
Warriors
WK
21
Fri, Apr 21
8:30 pm ET
Roughnecks
Panther City
Sat, Apr 22
6:00 pm ET
Riptide
Thunderbirds
Sat, Apr 22
7:00 pm ET
Swarm
Knighthawks
Sat, Apr 22
8:00 pm ET
Rock
Bandits
Sat, Apr 22
9:30 pm ET
Mammoth
Rush
Sat, Apr 22
10:00 pm ET
Desert Dogs
Seals
Sun, Apr 23
3:00 pm ET
Wings
FireWolves
WK
22
Sat, Apr 29
7:00 pm ET
Thunderbirds
Swarm
Sat, Apr 29
7:00 pm ET
Wings
Knighthawks
Sat, Apr 29
7:00 pm ET
Bandits
FireWolves
Sat, Apr 29
10:00 pm ET
Mammoth
Seals
Sat, Apr 29
10:00 pm ET
Riptide
Warriors
Sat, Apr 29
10:30 pm ET
Rush
Desert Dogs
Powered By
MGM Logo
Scores / Schedule
PlayoffsStories/Op-Ed

The Buffalo Bandits Journey To The NLL Finals

When the Buffalo Bandits gathered for training camp prior to the start of the 2021-22 National Lacrosse League season, there was a mission statement, one that was no different than any of the other clubs in the NLL.

And that mission statement is to win it all.

“I’m sure if you asked anybody on any team, they’re going to give you the same answer,” said Bandits Head Coach, John Tavares.  “Everybody’s goal is to win the championship.”

And that’s where the Bandits are as they prepare to meet the Colorado Mammoth in the NLL Finals with Game 1 set for Saturday night at KeyBank Center in Buffalo (7:30pm ET ESPN+/TSN4).

For the Bandits, the story of the 2021-22 season could be titled “Unfinished Business”.

That’s because to put what the Bandits have accomplished so far this season and what they ultimately hope to do in the finals, you have to go back two years to the 2018-19 NLL season. The Bandits were the top seed heading into the playoffs with a 14-4 record and they advanced to meet the Calgary Roughnecks in the NLL Finals.

Things didn’t go according to plan.

“Going into that championship, people were saying that we were the favorites and we’re going to win,” recalled Tavares. “They swept us two games to zero and that was definitely a learning lesson.”

And that was the last time that two teams competed for the NLL title.

The 2019-20 season was cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic and a champion was not crowned. The pandemic also wiped out the entire 2020-21 season so the Bandits have been waiting a long time to get back to this point.

And that journey started during the off-season with the painful memory of what happened three years ago.

“We have a lot of guys from that losing team that have something to prove,” said Tavares. “Going into this year, we tried to get an early start. The guys were training well before training camp started. They put a lot of sweat, blood and not much tears and a lot of effort into this entire season well before the regular season even began.”

The Bandits opened up the 2021-22 season on fire with six straight wins and they were 13-1 through 14 games. They won games in many different ways. There was a small sense of revenge gained in their season opener on December 4th when they handled the team that beat them in the 2019 Finals as they beat Calgary 16-9. Then there was a trip to Long Island on January 30th when the Bandits rallied from a 3-goal deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the New York Riptide 18-17 in overtime.

In a nutshell, the Bandits were sending a message to the rest of the NLL that they were a machine.

“We got off to a really good start,” said Tavares. “I remember the first few games of the season we were very successful getting off not only to a good start in the standings but also a good start in pretty much every game that we played. We had good leads and learned to play with the lead.

But after just about everything was going their way, the Bandits began to face some adversity as they closed the regular season with three losses in their last four games to finish 14-4.

It’s not an ideal way to head into the playoffs, but the Bandits were still the number one seed and they certainly learned some lessons as they prepared for the post-season.

“Over the course of the year, you’re going to run into some obstacles,” said Tavares. “That just taught us how to get better and taught us what we had to improve on. It took us back to the drawing board.”

And that drawing board helped the Bandits get back on track as they opened the NLL Playoffs on May 7th with a 10-5 win over Albany in Banditland. Then it was onto the East Conference Finals against the Toronto Rock and the Bandits had their hands full. Buffalo took game one in Buffalo 18-17 on May 15th and then finished off the two-game sweep on May 21st winning 10-9 in Hamilton, Ontario.

In Game 1, Toronto hit the post with the waning seconds of the game but was unable to tie it as time expired. It looked like Toronto had tied Game 2 with a last-second goal, but after video review, it was determined that the ball went into the net after the clock hit zero.

“It took two tough battles right to the last second or tenth of a second to win those games,” said Tavares.

And now, the Bandits are back in the finals after a regular season that seemed to have a little bit of everything. There was a lot of success for most of the season and then there were some struggles at the ends of the season and a close call against Toronto in the playoffs.

The Bandits are now two wins away from the fifth championship in franchise history.

We’re going (into the finals) with one thing in mind and that’s to win,” said Tavares. “At the end of the day, I think what really led us to improve and get to the finals is the group of guys that we have on the team. Every guy on our team puts the team first.”

In the finals, the Bandits will be facing a Mammoth team that began Buffalo’s late season struggles with a 15-14 win over the Bandits on April 2nd in Denver. The game was tied at 14-14 when Colorado’s Connor Robinson scored the game winning goal with a minute to go in the fourth quarter.

The Bandits expect a tough matchup in the finals.

“They have a lot of threats offensively,” said Tavares. “They’re very athletic defensively. They move the ball in transition. It’s a tough place to play in Colorado. They create a lot of havoc for any opponent.”

The Buffalo Bandits last won an NLL title in 2008 when they beat Portland in the finals. Since then, the Bandits have been back to the finals twice without winning bringing the total number of finals that they’ve lost to five, more than the four times that they’ve won.

The goal this season is simple…unfinished business to bring championship number five to Buffalo.

NLL