The Buffalo Bandits (3-1) will host the Philadelphia Wings (0-4) in their second matchup of the season in what should be another gritty high-scoring National Lacrosse League game. Philly gave the Bandits everything they could handle in their first game game back as a franchise, but Buffalo came out with the win 17-15.
This game will be much different than that first meeting as Buffalo’s defense has learned to work with goaltender Matt Vinc and has tightened up their play as they allowed only four goals in their previous game against the Rochester Knighthawks. Dhane Smith has also returned to the lineup and had four points in his first game back from an injury which he sustained in the Bandits game against the Wings.
Philadelphia also looks much different as they now feature lefty Blaze Riordan, who has 13 points in three games. Recently-acquired righty Kevin Crowley, one of the game’s best scorers, had four points in his first game back as a Wing against Georgia. However, Philly has still not solved their goalie situation as both Davide DiRuscio and Doug Buchan have played in all four games, with each having been relieved at some point. Buchan has been the more solid of the two so he will most likely start against the Bandits.
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Buffalo Bandits’ Keys to the Game
- Take advantage of transition opportunities and power plays. If this game is anything like the first meeting, then scoring in transition will be huge if they struggle scoring in 5-on-5. The Bandits power play unit is also one of the best in the league.
- Stop any runs by the Wings. Against Georgia, Philly got back into the game with a few scoring runs so disrupting these runs will be crucial.
- Build off of defensive success. The Bandits only allowed four goals in their last game, and if they can continue playing that way they will be in great shape to beat the Wings.
- Tie up Trevor Baptiste on faceoffs. Baptiste is adjusting to the NLL with each game he plays so disrupting his ability to win faceoffs will help stop any runs by the Wings.
The Bandits are also coming off of their bye week and will need to come out ready to play and do everything they can to not start out flat. The Wings are also probably the best team without a win so far this season and took Toronto to overtime only two weeks ago. The Bandits cannot underestimate their opponent.
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Keybank Center. Banditland fans will be eager to welcome the Wings back to Buffalo for the first time in several years and cheer on their Bandits as they try to go on a three-game win streak.