Buque and Bold Pass First Tests in Proving Their Worth


Buffalo's Alex Buque, traded away by the Mammoth this offseason, had 55 saves on Friday to help the Bandits beat the Rock.

Aaron Bold and Alex Buque each have something to prove and their goaltending performances on the NLL’s opening night suggest they will win their cases.

Bold, traded away by the Saskatchewan Rush after helping them win the 2015 and 2016 championships, intends to show he remains one of the best in the nets. Exhibit A: Bold allowed only three second-half goals to help the New England Black Wolves rally from a 9-5 deficit and defeat the reigning champion Georgia Swarm 13-11.

Buque, traded away by the Colorado Mammoth after sitting on the bench backing up Dillon Ward, intends to show he can be a No. 1. Exhibit A: Buque made 55 saves in playing a starring role in the Buffalo Bandits’ 13-9 home win over the Toronto Rock.

No team will win an NLL championship without top-notch goaltending, and the four winning teams on the opening NLL weekend all got it. Ward was sensational in a 48-save effort in Colorado’s 15-8 win at Vancouver and Matt Vinc was at his best in making 40 saves in Rochester’s 17-6 drubbing of Calgary.

But back to Bold and Buque.

The Swarm looked ready to muzzle the Black Wolves when they went up by four in the third quarter.

 “They can put a big number on you in a hurry,” New England head coach Glenn Clark said. “You try to keep the gap manageable, and we did. It didn’t explode on us and we were able to chip away and get back in.”

Thanks in large part to Bold.

“Whenever somebody comes to a new team, they want to prove to the new group they are worth the investment,” Clark said. “We went out and got him in a trade and he wants to show his value. He’s excited about the challenge. With goalies, it’s not so much the number of saves. It’s the timing of the saves, and he made some big ones down the stretch.”

Bold works as a personal trainer in Edmonton, so he will be doing a lot of traveling to play for the Black Wolves.

“He keeps himself in really good shape so fatigue isn’t an issue with him,” Clark said. “He’s very athletic and very fit so he’s not going to fade down the stretch.”

Bold, 32, at 6-foot-2 and 207 pounds, is a completely different kettle of fish from Buque, 25, who is 5-10 and 230 pounds but moves much quicker than one might guess by just looking at his size.

“He was a wall out there and made some unbelievable saves,” coach Troy Cordingley said after his team’s win over the Rock. “That gives confidence to everybody on the team.”

Anthony Cosmo, who became Buffalo’s goaltending coach after retiring in the autumn, is working closely with Buque.

“He’s willing to learn and is willing to take the x’s and o’s seriously,” Cosmo said. “I enjoy being with him and learning the perspective of how a young kid works. I like his work ethic.”

Buque is four inches shorter than Cosmo, but it doesn’t seem to be a disadvantage after he pulls on the pads.

“He plays real big for his size,” Cosmo said.

Buque reminds him of NLL Hall of Fame goalie and current Bandits GM Steve Dietrich.

“Like Chugger, he’s a heavier-set guy but he’s agile in the net.”

Buque has spent much of his pro career in the West Division so much of the game prep work he does with Cosmo involves analyzing the traits of East Division shooters.

 “I really like our goaltending situation,” Cosmo said. “With Alex and [Davide] Big Fish [DeRuscio] we’ve got two guys with different styles, and I like our chances with either one of them in the nets.”

It’s a new start in new cities for Bold and Buque and they intend to make the most of it.

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