After the shock of losing last year’s championship series to Colorado, the Bandits have returned to the finals for a championship rematch with the Mammoth.
The Bandits have won four MILL/NLL championships hoisting the trophy in 1992, 1993, 1996 and 2008. But since that last championship 15 years ago, the Bandits have been back to the championship round on three prior occasions but lost all three including last year to Colorado dropping a decisive third game in Buffalo.
The Bandits would then go on to a 14-4 regular season earning the number one seed in the NLL. What’s amazing about the season as a whole was that just about every week the Bandits were missing at least one and sometimes multiple key players because of injuries.
The best of three will see Game 1 commence on Saturday, May 27, at 7:00 p.m., in the Keybank Centre, then Game 2 on Monday, May 29 at 4:00 p.m., in the Ball Arena and finally, Game 3 on Saturday June 3, at 7:30 p.m., in the Keybank Centre.
The National Lacrosse League also announced that Lyle Thompson and Dan Dawson were awarded the Sportsmanship Award and Teammate of the Year Award respectively this week.
Thompson, 30, of the Onondaga Nation, wins his fifth straight Sportsmanship Award and the Georgia Swarm’s sixth straight (Jordan Hall, 2017). As one of the faces of the NLL and the game of lacrosse, Thompson carries himself in a manner worthy of five straight titles as voted by teams across the league and through the media. His work on the floor almost led Georgia into the playoffs after an 0-7 start, but his work off the field to grow the game is unprecedented, especially in Indigenous communities.
The 2017 NLL MVP finished the 2022-23 campaign tied for the team lead in points at 106, eighth in the NLL. He contributed 46 goals which ranks fifth among all players, 10 caused turnovers and only two penalty minutes. He was one of six players with 100+ points and 100+ loose ball recoveries.
As for notable transactions ahead of the finals:
On May 20: The Colorado Mammoth have placed Josh Sullivan on the Injured Reserve List from the Active Roster and placed Practice Player Tyler Garrison on the Active Roster from the Practice Player List.
A photo of a Colorado Mammoth line celebrating after securing the NLL final last year. With the same teams coming in for this years final, a different outcome is possible. Beginning this Saturday, the Buffalo Bandits will have a rematch against the Colorado Mammoth, defending champions. Photo courtesy of the NLL Facebook page.