Bandits lose Game 1 of Champion's Cup Finals

Posted at 10:18 PM, May 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-28 23:59:26-04

Dhane Smith scored three goals, but it wasn't enough as the Bandits dropped Game 1 of the Champion's Cup Final, 11-9 to Saskatchewan on Saturday.

Buffalo entered the postseason averaging 17.5 goals per game, and averaged 14 per game during the regular season.

"We know we can still play better. I thought we were good tonight, but we can play better," Head Coach Troy Cordingley said.  "We just have to be more consistent and we gotta play 60 not 55."

The Bandits were shutout in the first quarter, and trailed 2-0 heading into the second.

The East Division Champs found their stride in the second, using goals from Smith, Ryan Benesch, Anthony Malcom and Alexander Kedoh-Hill to give Buffalo an 6-4 lead. However,  the Rush scored the final two goals of the quarter to tie it at six at half.

Entering the final quarter tied at eight, Benesch gave Buffalo a 9-8 lead with his second goal of the night, but it would be the final time the Bandits would score.

The Rush ended the game on a 3-0 run to steal Game 1 of the series.

"We're fighting for our lives, so it is challenging," netminder Anthony Cosmo said.  "Nothing changes. They have a great barn and we've played them there and beat them there.  Our confidence hasn't waivered at all."

Buffalo will look to even the series at a game a piece in Game 2 next Saturday in Saskatchewan.

The Bandits won the only regular season matchup against the Rush in Saskatchewan 19-18 in OT.