Sunday, February 15, 2009

Bandits Need to Play at Home More Often

The Bandits had another blowout game at home, this time embarrassing the Toronto Rock, 25-10.  Mark Steenhuis was the game MVP by setting the (unofficial) NLL record with 17 points in the game, 4 goals and 13 assists.  Other scorers for the Bandits are Vyse (6), Tavares (4),  Bomberry (3), Tommy Montour (2), Dostie (2), Greenhalgh (2), Llord and Billy Dee (1). 

It seems that the Bandits are a team that will capitalize on a bad defense at will.  They did it against a Knighthawks team that gave up midway through the second half and they did it to a Rock defense that just couldn’t catch a break.  They also have found their secondary scoring.  This team needs to play good defense and they can let their offense take care of the rest.

The defense looked good with the return of Billy Dee Smith from injury.  This defense has always looked really good on the home floor and was able to answer the bell when the Rock started to get chippy in the fourth quarter.  The Rock had 65 total penalty minutes in the game, 42 of them coming in the fourth quarter.  

Montour looked average compared to what he has done, allowing 10 goals on 45 shots.  But in saying that, Montour has been the better goaltender of the two this season.  The goalie rotation has worked well in keeping both goaltenders fresh but Montour has been that much better this season.

In terms of the Rock, this is just a blip for them.  They may have lost Ratcliffe for an extended period of time after getting hit by Llord, I think.  But the Rock are going to bounce back after this game.  They have enough offensive players on that team to be able to contend in a game, see the first matchup between these two.  The Rock are going to want a piece of the Bandits when they come back to Toronto next Friday.

The last two games show how important home-field advantage is during the playoffs.  The Bandits are 3-0 at home and 3-1 on the road but have outscored their opponents 63-27 at home compared to 42-36 on the road.  They play infinitely better when they feed off the energy of the home crowd.  They have a two game lead over the Titans and Blazers at the time of writing and a half game lead over the Roughnecks in the west.  They are going to need to keep those leads to ensure a good draw for the postseason, if they make it there. 

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