Bandits score tonight is a Buffalo victory

ALBANY, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bandits are in the National Lacrosse League championship round for a fourth straight time.

After Game 1 of the NLL Finals on Friday night, the Bandits are now one win away from a second straight title.

The Bandits took the road and won the first game against the FireWolves 12-8 at MVP Arena in Albany. MVP runner-up Dhane Smith led Buffalo’s offense, tallying 11 points and contributing to each of the Bandits’ first 11 goals. He finished with 2 goals and 9 assists, setting a career high for points in a playoff game.

Trailing by one at halftime, Buffalo outscored Albany 7-2 in the second half. That included a four-goal run after the FireWolves came within just one, 8-7, to pull away from Albany and claim the victory. Goaltender Matt Vinc, who played a crucial role in keeping Albany off the scoresheet down the stretch, finished the game with 37 saves.

Buffalo now has a chance to win back-to-back titles Saturday night as the team returns home to play Banditland at KeyBank Center. Game 2 of the NLL Finals will begin at 7:30 p.m.