Bandits Shootaround: Bandits look to stop skid against potent Mammoth

The long layoff for the Bandits practically has the team beginning a new season. The last home game was one month ago and Buffalo February 17 road loss was the last game action the team saw.

A one-week bye, plus the All Star Game, has kept the Bandits away from regular season action for some time. They’re mired in a four-game losing streak and the sledding remains tough. Buffalo will host the NLL’s best team and most potent scorer tonight with John Grant Jr. and the Colorado Mammoth in town.

This will be the first chance Bandits fans have a chance to see new goaltender Anthony Cosmo in action. He was activated earlier in the week, along with Daryl Gibson, after Frank Resetarits and Jimmy Purves were released. There is a chance that Cosmo serves as a backup to Mike Thompson, but considering the time he has had to shake off some rust, I’d expect him in the crease tonight.

Buffalo’s additional decision to move Travis Irving Gibson to the active roster was likely motivated by the earlier trade of Jeff Cornwall and the fact that Purves just wasn’t an effective piece for the Bandits this season. The same can be said for Resetarits. He is a solid player, but is well down the depth chart with the team. Between Luke Wiles, Kevin Buchanan and the rest of last year’s incumbents, there was little time for Resetarits to play. Not to mention, he was taking floor time for more potent weapons on a team that hasn’t yet lit things up offensively.

Crease Crashing

Anthony Cosmo should get the nod for the Bandits. He has had a ton of time to practice and adjust to the system. Cosmo was acquired to shore up some questionable goaltending. The season is too fragile at this point to wait on him any longer.

Chris Levis was selected to the West Division All Star team. Need I say more? Levis is playing behind a potent offense led by one of the most talented offensive stars to play in the NLL. Regardless, the Mammoth are the NLL’s best team and Levis has been a big part of that.

Stopping Grant

If John Tavares is the Gretzky of lacrosse, John Grant Jr. is Mario Lemieux. I maintain that Tavares will go down as the best to ever play the game, but Grant is a supreme talent that has the gamebreaker ability few have. Grant will not likely break any of Tavares’ records, but he could probably be considered a more dangerous scorer when compared to the Bandits great. Buffalo will have a hell of a time trying to contain him and I doubt that they will be able to hold him to anything less than seven or eight points. Grant has 59 points on the season, just shy of 10 points per game.

Depth Charge

The Bandits made strides to strengthen their depth scoring this season. All they accomplished was making a change to who their leading scorers are. The depth scoring remains absent while Tavares, Wiles, Mat Giles and Chad Culp pace the offense. Mark Steenhuis, Roger Vyse, Kevin Buchanan and others need to start chipping in. Creating and finishing has nearly been as big of an issue as the goaltending this season.