NLL Preview: Buffalo Bandits












  Welcome to the first NLL preview! We will be rolling out one of these each day until the start of the season. Right now we are 9 days away from the start of the season and can't wait for it to get underway. The first team that we are going to preview is the Buffalo Bandits.

Overview:


    The Buffalo Bandits ended up finishing last season in dead last in the NLL with a record of 6-12. 2017 was a very down year for the Bandits as they were the #1 team in the East in 2016. I guess the bandits went by the rule, If your not first your last, because they dropped from first to last in just one season. After such a poor performance last season you would have to think that the Bandits will be fired up and ready to improve and get back to the playoffs.

    The Bandits will start off the 2018 season on December 8th at Home against the Toronto Rock. That game will be streamed on Twitter as the Twitter Game of the Week. Last season these two teams split the season series with each team going 2-2 against each other. The Bandits will obviously have a great schedule and may have a tough time in the east. The Georgia Swarm are really the biggest threat in the east this season followed by the Toronto Rock and New England Black Wolves.

     Key Players:

Dhane Smith
Position: Forward
#92

First off his the man, the myth, the legend, Dhane Smith. Dhane has been the heart and soul of this franchise for quite a while and he will make the most impact this upcoming seaon. Smith had a total of 30 goals, 51 assist, and 81 points.  In an 18 game season where Dhane only played 14 games those are some pretty good numbers. So, Dhane smith will be the biggest impact for the for the Bandits this season.

Blaze Riorden
Position: Forward
#10

Now, This is probably one of the most interesting players in the sport of lacrosse at the moment. Blaze is most formerly known for his full field goal where he threw a box fake as a goalie vs Cornell in the NCAA Tournament. Blaze played Goalie for Albany and still plays Goalie in the MLL. However, he plays forward in the NLL and has always done so in the Box game. Last year being Blaze's rookie season he only played in 9 games and scored 6 goals, had 13 assist. Blaze finished the season with a total of 19 points. So, Blaze is more of a fan favorite and he is in for a sure fire big year.

Josh Byrne

The Rookie has seemed to impress during the preseason and he really impressed in College at Hofstra. Byrne was the overall No. 1 pick in this years NLL draft so he really does have a target on his back and a lot of people expecting a lot out of him. I have not seen any full preseason game but of the highlights and things I've heard Josh Byrne could be the next big thing for the Bandits. Byrne had some insane highlights throughout his time at Hofstra and I think there are still more to come. Byrne is for sure in for a great season and we all have high expectations for him.

Alex Buque
Goalie

Buque was acquired by Buffalo in the off-season after a three year stint with the Colorado Mammoth. While in Colorado Buque got to sit behind arguably the best goalie in the world, Dillon Ward. having learned from such a big time talent and overall great guy you have to think that Buque is ready to get the starting job and keep it. Buque started a few game in Colorado but not enough to say that hima Ward shared the starting spot. Last season Alex Buque had 92 saves with a 0.754 Save percentage. Buque only played in 3 games according to the stats. I think I remember seeing him in more than 3 games but the stats say 3. So, Alex Buque is in for a great season and I think he can really help this Bandits team.


   2017 Season Stats:

Team
Games Played
Goals
Assist
Points
PIM
LB
FO
FO Pct
Wins
Losses
Buffalo
18
226
304
513
341
1193
220-441
0.499
6
12


   That Concludes this years season preview of the Buffalo Bandits. I hope you all enjoyed and be on the look out for more NLL team previews.

    Stay Hydrated!
          - Tanner Demling

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