It takes a good memory to remember when the Buffalo Bandits played their last game. It takes a better one to remember when the last time the Bandits had such a long break between contests.
Buffalo’s last game was three weeks ago, a home win over Philadelphia. Since then, the team has had its own version of an Olympic break, without a trip to Sochi.
“I can’t ever remember going 20 days without a game,” Bandits assistant coach Rich Kilgour said.
A scan of the record book shows that the Bandits went three weeks between games in 2012, but it comes with an asterisk. In one of those weeks, the team hosted the National Lacrosse League All-Star Game at the First Niagara Center. Buffalo was well-represented in that game, so at least several of the players had some semblance of game action.
Otherwise, you have to go all the way back to 2003 for the Bandits’ last three-week break.
Kilgour said the Bandits coaching staff tried to adapt its practice schedule.
Troy Cordingley “did a great job,” he said. “The first week, we pretty much gave everyone the time off. It let them have time to heal a bit. Then the Tuesday after that, we were ready to go hard. Troy really put them through the paces. It was mostly a running practice. Then the last two practices, we prepared for Minnesota and worked on our systems.
“But no one ever wants go three weeks off when you are going good.”
It’s impossible to know if the break affected the Bandits in Saturday’s win over Minnesota. But a slow start did force them to take a longer, tougher road to victory.
“We definitely weren’t prepared for their speed. Given three weeks off – you can practice as hard as you can but when you get into the game mode, especially against Minnesota, we weren’t prepared for it,” coach Troy Cordingley said. “We were letting things happen.”
The Swarm have been cornering the market on top draft choices for the last two years.
In 2012, the Swarm had the second, third, fourth and 10th picks in the first round of the draft. A year later, Minnesota did even better. The Swarm went first (Logan Schuss, transition), second (Jason Noble, transition), fourth (Cameron Flint, transition) and seventh (Scott Jones, transition) in the opening round.
Last year’s rookies contributed to the team eventually. Coach Joe Sullivan said the team’s rookies have had something of a slow start.
“They’re coming along great. They’re a great group of guys,” he said. “It’s taking a bit longer for them to mesh. We have to take care of our own business. It takes time.”
Schuss seems to be improving by the week. The Ohio State product picked up rookie-of-the-month honors by scoring 23 points in five games. Schuss had two goals in Saturday’s game.
“We’re going to see more of these kinds of successes with Logan, he’s just starting to come into his own,” Sullivan said. “He’s got a comfort level with the players and his surroundings, and now that he knows what the league is all about, you are going to see some great things coming from him.
“Guys like Callum Crawford have helped him out quite a bit in trying to get through some of the struggles he had early. He’s playing with a lot more confidence.”
Billy Dee Smith, nursing a lower-body injury, and Jamie Rooney were Buffalo’s scratches on Saturday. ... The Bandits finished with a 57-55 edge in shots. ... After 30 minutes, the two teams were tied in goals, shots, loose balls, faceoffs, and power plays. ... The Bandits’ family grew by one over the break, as Chad Culp and Hinda Coza-Culp welcomed Klara Billie Beatrice Culp to their roster.