Bandits hold on to take Game 1 of NLL Finals over Mammoth

Dhane Smith leads the way for Buffalo with five goals in a 13-12 win

Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) - In a rematch of the 2022 NLL Finals, the Buffalo Bandits hold off a late push from the Colorado Mammoth to take Game 1 of the best-of-three series, 13-12, at KeyBank Center.

The run started early for the Bandits, as they exploded to a 4-0 lead in the first quarter. Forward Dhane Smith got the scoring going for the Bandits, netting the first goal of the game less than a minute into the first quarter.

Smith scored four of his five goals in the game in the first quarter, while also passing 50 career playoff goals.

The Mammoth responded after Buffalo’s fast start, as the Bandits only had a one-goal lead at the end of the first quarter.

Colorado went on their own run in the second quarter that included three unanswered goals to give the Mammoth an 8-7 lead going into halftime.

Down by one in the third quarter, the Bandits went on their own 4-0 run to re-gain the lead, which they wouldn't relinquish.


With 5:18 left in the fourth quarter, the Mammoth cut the Buffalo lead to one, but the Bandits shut the door and held on for the Game 1 victory.

Similar to last season, the Bandits take the opening game of the NLL Finals and are now one win away from their first NLL title since 2008.

Not only did Smith have himself a performance on Saturday, but Tehoka Nanticoke also scored three goals and finished the night with five points.

Ian MacKay dished out six assists on Saturday, and led the team in points with seven.

In goal, Matt Vinc stood tall, making 31 saves for the Bandits on 43 shots faced.

Buffalo’s special teams was lethal in Game 1, as the Bandits went 4-for-5 on the power play, and even scored a shorthanded goal in the third quarter.

Game 2 will be in Colorado on Monday at 4 p.m. ET at Ball Arena in Denver.

Photo credit Losi and Gangi
Featured Image Photo Credit: Buffalo Bandits (@NLLBandits)