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The NLL Finals Go Down To The Wire

04 de Junio de 2023 a las 01:38

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By Gary Groob Columnist and Co-Host of NLL Talk on Spanglish Sports World and Spanglish World Networks
TORONTO. - Would there be any other way a lacrosse fan would want than for the best of three final to go down to the wire?  The Buffalo Bandits won a close 13-12 decision at home in game one.  The underdog Colorado Mammoth evened the series with a convincing 16-10 victory in front of their home crowd on Monday afternoon.  Both arenas were packed with boisterous fans, in a frenzy for their teams. 
The series has had everything you could ask for with the exception of overtime.  Wouldn't that be the cherry on the sundae for the National Lacrosse League this playoff season? 
A Recap of the games: 
Game One: 
Buffalo’s 13-12 game one victory included five and three goal performances from Dhane Smith and Tehoka Nanticoke respectively.  A hat-trick from Chase Fraser and single goal tallies from Ian MacKay and Brad McCulley rounded out the Bandits scoring. 
On the Mammoth side of the equation, Eli McLaughlin posted his own hat trick, with Zed Williams, Ryan Lee and Tyson Gibson putting the ball between the pipes two times each. 
Game Two: 
Colorado evened the series coming away with a 16-10 statement victory.  Buffalo was out front early 2-0 and 3-1 but the first quarter ended tied 3-3.  Colorado took over in the second quarter, outscoring Buffalo 5-2 including a natural hat-trick by Ryan Lee to take an 8-5 lead into the half. 
The Mammoth rode that momentum into the third quarter, again outscoring the Bandits 5-2 to lead 13-7 heading into the fourth, where the teams both scored three goals each in the final 15 minutes. 
Game Three: 
With the status of Bandits star Josh Byrne still up in the air, and a few Bandits banged up from games one and two, the momentum pendulum has started to swing in favor of the Mammoth.  Can the Colorado squad take the rabid Buffalo fan base out of the game early, or will they be a factor in a Bandits win (the first since 2008)? 
Colorado's defense has been stellar, slowing down a very potent Bandits offense, with goalie Dillon Ward making a case to win his second straight MVP of the NLL playoffs.  
A few more questions heading into the deciding game: 
Can Matt Vinc steal one for the home squad? 
Will Josh Byrne be healthy enough to play for Buffalo? 
Can Colorado continue to run their offense as efficiently as in game two? 
What adjustments will these teams make, and what contingency plans are in place just in case? 
Will Dillon Ward continue his dominance in net for the Mammoth? 
All these questions will be answered on Saturday night at 7:30pm at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, NY.  This should be the showpiece of the year, capping off another successful year by the NLL.  You won't want to miss this one!