Fresh off a two-game winning streak, the Vancouver Warriors (3-5) hosted the Buffalo Bandits (6-1) at the Rogers Centre on Friday evening.
Vancouver struggled for the latter stages of the contest and just about anything that could go wrong, did.
Things seemed fine for the home team when netminder, Eric Penney (1a) made a nice outlet to Sam Clare (1a) who found MVP candidate, Mitch Jones (3g,3a) who beat Bandit tender, Matt Vinc just :47 in.
The Warriors seemed to start off hot but, fate was in charge and two apparent goals were negated due to crease violations.with
The teams exchanged markers in just eighteen seconds with Matt Gilray (1g) knotting it up before Riley Loewen (1g,3a) put Vancouver back in front, 2-1 with just 3:44 played.
Buffalo took the hit and went on a three-goal run to end the first with a 4-2 edge.
Dhane Smith (2g,6a), Josh Byrne (2g,4a) and with :33 remaining, the resurgent, Chris Cloutier (2g,4a) did the damage.
It took Vancouver exactly a minute to knot it up once again with Jones at the :20 mark and Lyndon Bunio (1g) at 1:00 and Vancouver seemed to be settling in.
Buffalo never paid attention and stole the game by shutting the Warriors for the remainder of the half and victimized Penney with a five-goal deluge fueled by, Cloutier setting up Smith on the man advantage at 2:56.
Things settled down for nearly six minutes before Smith and Billings set up Byrne and Cloutier banged an unassisted goal just :33 later.
Corey Small and Chase Fraser (3g,1a) added to the onslaught and the half-closed with Buffalo in front, 9-4.
Finally, after being dormant for 17:45, the Warrior offense showed signs of life and Keegan Bal (1a) and Jones helped Jordan McBride (2g,1) on the man up and at the 3:15 mark, Vancouver seemed primed to go on a run and trailed, 9-5 with a lot of game to be played.
It took Billings a whole minute and three seconds to thwart the Warrior momentum.
Fraser lit the lamp for the second time to give visitors a bit of breathing room before the Warriors fired back.
McBride added his second and then things took a twist.
Dhane Smith was whistled for holding the stick on a breakaway and Mitch Jones buried the ensuing penalty shot for his third of the night, while shorthanded.
Jones and McBride found Riley Loewen (1g,3a) and we had a new game with Vancouver trailing by three, 11-8.
Buffalo wasn’t in a mood to allow a comeback and Small bagged a pair to close the third, 13-8.
The final stanza was a penalty marathon as the Warriors seemed to be shorthanded the entire quarter.
How bad was it? Vancouver was whistled for 49 minutes!
Possible league action may be levied on Matt Beers. The Vancouver Captain came unglued and was hit for an unworldly 31 minutes.
Beers was whistled for tripping, illegal body check, unsportsmanlike conduct, misconduct and a game misconduct in the fourth quarter alone.
The Vancouver offense went stagnant in the fourth and Fraser and JP Kealey (1g,1a) added tallies to close it, 15-8.
Dis and Dat: 67 total minutes in penalties were called with Vancouver uncharacteristically being hit for a game total of 49.
Power Plays saw Buffalo go 2 for 8 and the Warriors, 1 of 4.
Loose balls favored the Bandits, 92-72 and face-offs also went the Buffalo way, 14 of 24.
Shots on Goal revealed a 73-50 Buffalo edge and if you account for shots off goal, the visitors fired 94 times.
Matt Vinc stopped 37 shots of the 45 he faced in 51:42 with Doug Buchan playing the last eight minutes and going a perfect 5 of 5 in the Buffalo cage.
Eric Penney made 58 saves and Nolan Clayton didn’t have to make a stop in just :19 seconds played.