The Buffalo Bandits began a double-away doubleheader Friday night, playing the Philadelphia Wings at the Wells Fargo Center. The Wings, looking to get back to .500, kicked off the evening by retiring the #11 jersey of Hall-of-Famer Kevin Finneran. Finneran played 10 years with the original Wings franchise, winning four championships.
The current Wings team rode the high of the opening ceremony to a 6-3 first half lead, but could not keep the Bandits offense down in the second half. Buffalo outscored the Wings 10-3 in the second half to win 13-9. The Bandits now move one game back of Rochester for first place in the East Division, following the Knighthawks loss to Halifax.
Penalties pile up for Bandits in first half
Kyle Buchanan (2g, 2a; 0:49) opened the scoring with his 200th career NLL goal. The Wings would respond with a three-goal run. Sam Leclair (3:14) and back-to-back goals from Blaze Riorden (2g, 1a; 7:11; 9:20) put Philadelphia on top 3-1. Tehoka Nanticoke (3g; 13:53) cut the Bandits’ deficit in half with a power play marker.
The Wings would extend their lead in the second quarter, as the Bandits would be assessed 10 of their 14 penalty minutes for the game. Joe Resetarits (1g, 5a; 1:10) made it 4-1, then Ben McIntosh (3g, 2a; 3:29) and Matt Rambo (2g, 2a; 12:36) followed with power play goals. A dunk attempt by Bandits forward Brandon Robinson (1g, 1a; 14:59) just before the halftime buzzer was ruled a goal. Replays showed Wings goalie Zach Higgins getting his stick on the shot. However, the stick appeared to be just inside the goalposts. The officials cited inconclusive evidence on the review, and the goal stood as called, making it 6-3 at halftime.
Bandits with huge second half comeback
In typical Bandits form, it was all guns blazing to start the second half. A six-goal run started with Dalton Sulver (2g, 1a; 3:16), Buchanan’s second (4:24), and Sulver again (4:59) to tie the score at 6-6. Tehoka Nanticoke (3g; 5:44), Josh Byrne (1g, 4a; 7:20), and Dhane Smith (2g, 7a; 8:39) followed to give the Bandits a three-goal lead. Higgins was pulled after Smith’s goal in favor of Angus Goodleaf. McIntosh’s second goal (13:10) stopped the Bandits’ run and pulled Philadelphia to within two, 9-7, entering the fourth quarter.
Higgins returned to the net to start the fourth, while Rambo tallied his second (1:02) to make it 9-8. But the Wings would get no closer, as the Bandits scored four unanswered to put the game out of reach. Brad McCulley (1g, 3a; 2:47), then Nanticoke with his hat trick (4:14), Smith’s second (9:52), and Nick Weiss (13:17) made it 13-8. McIntosh (14:35) netted his hat trick goal in garbage time to close the scoring.
Other Stats of Note
Matt Vinc (BUF): 45 saves
Faceoffs: BUF 9 of 25; PHI 16 of 25
Trevor Baptiste (PHI): 12 Loose Balls (led all players)
Steve Priolo (BUF): 3 Caused Turnovers (led all players)
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“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk was formally introduced to box lacrosse when he attended a New England Black Wolves game on a whim in 2016. Instantly hooked, he has since become an avid follower of the National Lacrosse League. Following the postponement of the 2019-2020 NLL season, he was offered the chance to share his wealth of statistical knowledge and unique insights with the lacrosse community at large. He cheerfully accepted, and currently serves as Edge of Philly’s correspondent for both the Albany FireWolves and New York Riptide.