Buffalo roams at home

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

BUFFALO -- The Calgary Roughnecks take to the floor tonight against the Buffalo Bandits looking to notch a National Lacrosse League playoff win in their first post-season appearance.

To achieve that, they\'re going to have to do something no other NLL team has done this year: Beat the Bandits on their home turf.

Buffalo was a perfect 8-0 at HSBC Arena this season en route to a record of 12-4. The Bandits were the only NLL squad to go undefeated at home.

Owners of a 6-2 home record, the Roughnecks credited raucous crowds at the \'Dome -- which averaged 11,562 over their eight dates -- with being the mythical seventh man and providing a surge of energy the team fed off.

While Buffalo averaged just 7,000 fans, Bandits GM Kurt Silcott has said their crowds have provided the same lift for his team all season.

\"It\'s going to be difficult,\" said forward Kaleb Toth. \"It\'s not going to be an easy task. They\'re a good team and they play great at home but they\'re definitely beatable. We proved that the last time we played them.

\"The way I look at it, it\'s a new season,\" said the 25-year-old righty. \"They\'re 0-0 at home. We can forget what everybody did in the regular season and try and start this new season with a bang.\"

\"You have to let all that stuff go,\" agreed Calgary captain Tracey Kelusky, who led the Roughnecks with 37 goals in only 13 games. \"It\'s the playoffs -- it\'s a new season. Maybe that\'ll be in the back of some of the guys minds. But we know how we played last week and we need to come out and improve on that and play even better and just concentrate on getting a victory.\"

In fact, some players were blissfully unaware of Buffalo\'s undefeated streak.

\"I hadn\'t even considered that,\" said transition defender Rob Kirkby, \"so I can\'t say I\'m intimidated by it. I just know that if we play the way we know we can, things should work out for us.\"

The Bandits think the home record is of limited value once the whistle blows.

\"I honestly don\'t think they\'re thinking about the fact we\'re undefeated here,\" said Bandits forward John Tavares, who scored 11 goals in two games against the Roughnecks. \"I think they realize we\'re a better team at home and they\'re going to have to bring everything.

\"Regardless of whether we\'re 7-0 or 8-0, they\'re going to come out the same way.\"

The winner of tonight\'s tilt will advance to play the top-seeded Rochester Knighthawks in a semifinal in Rochester next Saturday.


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