Shawn Slaght, All Lacrosse All The Time – A Division of the Edge of Philly Sports Network
The Buffalo Bandits held on to sweep the home-and-home series with the Georgia Swarm with an 11-9 win on Saturday night.
Despite the loss, it was an impressive effort by the Swarm after rebounding from 18-9 pounding the week before from the very same Bandits team. Georgia may have found their starter in goal as Brett Dobson stopped 45 of 56 shots in the loss.
Unfortunately for Georgia, the schedule doesn’t get any easier after falling to 0-4. They plan in Colorado to face the defending champs before a home-and-home set against the Toronto Rock. You can follow that up with a home-and-home series with Albany before meeting Rochester in the middle of March.
Meanwhile, the Bandits move to 4-1 and continue to chase the undefeated Rochester Knighthawks for first place in the east.
Quick start for the Bandits
Buffalo jumped out to a 3-0 lead right out of the gate with goals from Dhane Smith, Kyle Buchanan and Josh Byrne.
Lyle Thompson got the Swarm on the board at 4:53 to narrow the lead to two goals. There was no love lost between these two squads. With four minutes left to play, Jeremy Thompson and Nick Weiss picked up dead ball fouls that rolled over to Adam Wiedemann and Brad McCulley dropping the gloves and throwing haymakers.
After the carnage was cleaned up, Byrne was restore Buffalo’s three-goal lead with 3:08 left to play. Brendan Bomberry rounded out the scoring with 1:14 left to make 4-2 for Buffalo after the first quarter.
Swarm hang in there
Credit goes to this Georgia Swarm squad that has been struggling lately as they held their own in the second quarter.
Lyle Thompson struck again 2:05 into the second quarter and suddenly Buffalo’s lead to down to one, 4-3.
The Bandits bounced right back with a two-goal run starting with Steve Priolo only 15 seconds after Lyle’s goal. Byrne scored his third of six goals at 9:06 to make it 6-4.
The Swarm kept buzzing with a three-goal run of their own to round out the first-half scoring. First, it was Ryan MacSpadyen finding the back of the net at 4:05. Lyle Thompson would then make it a one-goal game before Wiedemann capped off his fight with the tying goal. Make the score 6-6 at the half.
Georgia holds a brief lead
Georgia kept pouring on the pressure in the second half. Bomberry scored 36 seconds into the frame to give the Swarm a 7-6 edge.
Byrne still caused issues for Georgia’s defense as he scored at 8:38 to tie the game up once again. However, with Byrne in the box for crosschecking, Lyle Thompson capitalized to make it 8-7.
Yet it was the Josh Byrne show as he scored twice in the last two minutes to make it 9-8 for Buffalo heading into the fourth quarter.
Bandits hold on for the win
It wasn’t until the 6:58 mark of the fourth quarter before either team got on the board. Buchanan opened the scoring to extend Buffalo’s lead to 10-8.
Bryan Cole would step up to the plate for the Swarm with 4:04 left to keep Georgia within striking distance at 10-9.
Georgia couldn’t find the equalizer, though, as Ian MacKay scored for the Bandits with 1:20 left on the clock to help the Bandits sweep the home-and-home series 11-9.
Josh Byrne, 6g 3a
Dhane Smith, 1g 5a
Kyle Buchanan, 2g 2a
Lyle Thompson, 4g 2a
Brendan Bomberry, 2g 1a
Andrew Kew, 3a
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Shawn Slaght has been a sports reporter across the Canadian prairies for over 10 years and has experience covering everything from junior hockey to World Cup skiing to all levels of lacrosse. He is the Saskatchewan correspondent for All Lacrosse All The Time.