Rock Buffalo-ed

RYAN WOLSTAT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:11 AM ET

It was another gritty comeback for the Rock last night, but the same disappointing result.

Red hot Buffalo Bandits goalie Steve Dietrich and a lack of finishing touch was a fatal combination as the Rock fell 13-11 to the Bandits at the Air Canada Centre last night.

It was the Rock's second consecutive loss to start the National Lacrosse League season.

Dietrich made 56 saves to seal the entertaining contest for Buffalo.

"(Dietrich) was magical," said Bandits forward Mark Steenhuis, no slouch himself in leading the Buffalo offence with nine points.

The game was tied at 9-9 entering the fourth quarter, but the wheels came off for the Rock as Lindsay Plunkett, Cory Bomberry and Steenhuis -- with his fourth of five on the night -- gave the Bandits a 12-9 lead. But just like last week, the Rock would not go away. Colin Doyle scored back-to-back goals to close the gap to just one with less than a minute left.

A week ago against Arizona at the ACC, Doyle scored in the last minute of regulation to force overtime in Toronto's eventual 14-13 loss to the Sting.

Despite the loss last night, which left the Toronto squad with an 0-2 record for the first time in franchise history, general manager/head coach Terry Sanderson was surprisingly upbeat.

"(The loss) was not for lack of trying," he said. "All aspects of our game, were right there (Dietrich) was sensational, give him credit."

Dietrich admitted to being tired from the 67 shots the Rock sent his way, but credited his defence for cutting down the number of quality chances.

He was at his best early. Toronto outshot the Bandits 21-7 in the first quarter and 18-12 in the second, but still trailed 6-5 at the half.

The game was much more physical than the Rock's opening-night match against the Sting.

It was clear right from the start that no love is lost between the two long-time rivals.

Buffalo's defenders took a number of liberties with the Rock's top forwards early, so Toronto enforcer Tim O'Brien took matters into his own hands, laying a beating on Buffalo defender Chris White after White high-sticked Doyle.

As always when these two teams meet, the crowd of 15,104 was sprinkled with a number of vocal Bandits supporters.

Toronto charged out of the gate to start the second half, Josh Sanderson tied the game 6-6 with his fourth goal of the night, but the Bandits answered quickly on Tavares' second of the game.

The Rock travelled to Rochester following the game and will play the Knighthawks tonight. Rochester won the season series 2-1 last season, but fell 12-10 to Toronto in the East Division final.


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