One Goal. That is what came between the 2011 Buffalo Bandits and a trip to their ninth NLL Championship game. The Bandits fought back from a 6-0 first half deficit, and an 11-7 fourth quarter deficit to pull within a goal of division rival Toronto, but they were unable to fully overcome their early mistakes as they fell 12-11 to the eventual NLL champions in front of a sold out First Niagara Center–then HSBC Arena.
It was a loss that stuck with the team the entire off-season, but one that they will not dwell on–they cannot afford to.
With the league contracting down to nine teams after the Boston Blazers had to close shop due to not being able to renew their lease with the TD Garden in Boston, the league proves to be more competitive than ever. The talent pool is deeper, there are more stars on teams, and teams that have not been contenders in recent years, i.e., Philadelphia and Edmonton, look prime to make a championship run.
Despite the changes in the NLL there is a special vibe in the air. There is a special feeling throughout the Banditland faithful who sport the orange and black night in and night out. There is a feeling that this is the year where fans see the Bandits bring home a fifth Champions Cup....