Last year, the Bandits won homefield advantage throughout the playoffs on their way to winning their 4th NLL Championship. This season, due mostly to increased strength in the NLL, the Bandits only earned the 3rd seed in the playoffs in 2009 and their only guaranteed home game was their 1st round matchup against the expansion Boston Blazers. The fact that they made the playoffs alone spoke volumes about the Blazers not being a typical expansion team. Two weeks ago, the Bandits finished off the regular season against these same Blazers on the short end of the scoresheet with an OT loss. As the playoffs began, the Bandits had 2 reasons to win. First, they had to defend their title and win the first of three games enroute to their 2nd consecutive title. Second, revenge was on their minds for the loss two weeks ago.
The Round 1 matchup was a hard fought game most of the way as the Blazers threw everything they could at Bandits goalie Ken Montour but Montour proved more than up to the challenge stopping 47 of Boston's 55 shots while the Bandits offense, behind the scoring touch of Mark Steenhuis and Johnny Tavares, got 10 of 45 shots past Blazers goalie Anthony Cosmo with a late empty-netter by Tom Montour giving the Bandits the 11-8 win, sending them to the Prudential Center next week for the Eastern Division Finals in a matchup against a New York Titans team that had their number in both regular season matchups this season.
The Bandettes, on the other hand, had no failures to make up for as they joined fans at the Party In The Plaza before the game with a pair of dance performances and some visits with fans sandwiched around an autograph session inside the Arena. They then joined the fans down in the Arena itself with 4 dance performances as well as frequent dance routines during the game action. During the 3rd intermission performance as well as the 4th quarter, the NLL's premier dance team sported the jerseys of their team in their dance routines, and looking far cuter in them than the players ever do.
Coming up next, the Bandettes wait, along with the rest of Banditland, to see if HSBC Arena will be hosting the NLL Championship game on May 16th. To do that, the Bandits will not only have to beat the NY Titans for the first time this year, but the Western Division leading Calgary Roughnecks will have to lose to either the Colorado Mammoth or to the San Jose Stealth.