Challen Rodgers’ hat-trick set the tone as the Toronto Rock topped the Buffalo Bandits, 16-11, in National Lacrosse League action that was played before 16,630 fans at KeyBank Center on Saturday.
The loss puts the Bandits (8-9) on the brink of elimination as they now must defeat Rochester Knighthawks in the season finale that will be played at KeyBank Center next Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
The Rock (8-9) kept their playoff hopes alive as they head into their final regular season game against Colorado.
Shawn Evans and Vaughn Harris staked the Bandits to an early 2-0 lead as they clearly set the tempo of the game in the first five minutes. But the Rock responded with four unanswered goals, the first coming from Challen Rodgers.
Down 4-3, the Bandits would be playing catch up the rest of the night.
The Rock’s seventh goal led to a change in net for Buffalo as Zach Higgins replaced Alex Buque. The change seemed to give the Bandits some life as Shawn Evans came right back with his second goal of the game.
Mitch Jones would also net a pair of goals for the Bandits, but it wasn’t enough.
Bandit forward Dhane Smith played his 100th career game.
Support for the Humboldt Broncos hockey team continues as fans held a “Humboldt Strong” banner during the Canadian National Anthem.
This was the Bandits 5th annual Tucker Out Lymphoma/cancer awareness game. The game is named in honor of the Tucker Williams, who lost his battle against Burkitt Lymphoma in 2014.
Tucker was the young son of former Bandit Shawn Williams.
Shawn’s son Dyson Williams designed the special “Braver than Brave” jerseys the Bandits wore.
His sister, Dylana Williams, sang the Canadian National Anthem prior to the game.