BANDITS TAKE SEASON SERIES AGAINST FIREWOLVES, REMAIN ATOP LEAGUE STANDINGS

Written by “Muffler” Mike Kostiuk

Lax Philly – A Division of Edge of Philly Sports Network

The Albany FireWolves hosted the Buffalo Bandits at MVP Arena Saturday night, 15 days after a wild intense first meeting in Week 12. Albany entered the game in a three-way tie for 4th place in the East with Georgia and Philadelphia at 5-6, while Buffalo’s 8-1 record topped the league. This game would be just as wild and intense as the previous matchup, but in a very different way, as Buffalo would need slightly more than 60 minutes to prevail, 12-11 in overtime.

Feisty First Half

Chris Cloutier (1g) opened the scoring just 51 seconds into the game. The FireWolves responded with a three-goal run, courtesy of Joe Resetarits (4g, 2a; 1:24), Ryan Benesch (4g, 3a; 5:56; power play), and Jordan Durston (1g; 6:54). Durston’s goal would prompt the first of three (!) attempted challenges by Buffalo head coach John Tavares during the quarter, but reviews were inconclusive and the goal call stood.

The Bandits bounced back, with lan MacKay (1g; 8:40) scoring in transition, then Josh Byrne (2g, 2a; 9:33) tying the game at 3-3. Benesch tallied his second of the game at 10:42, with Tavares’ second challenge attempt coming after the allotted time to throw the red flag. Less than a minute later, an apparent goal by Dhane Smith (3g, 5a; 11:34) was initially nullified due to a crease violation by Chase Fraser. The third challenge from Tavares would result in the call being overturned, and the first quarter ending tied at 4.

The second quarter would see the teams continue trading goals. For Albany, Resetarits’ second (0:23), a hat trick goal from Benesch (3:38), and a power play goal from Charlie Kitchen (2g, 1a; 6:36). Buffalo countered with Nick Weiss (1g; 2:44) and Byrne’s second (5:54; shorthanded), before Albany face-off specialist Joe Nardella was called for a major high-sticking penalty. Tehoka Nanticoke (2g, 1a; 13:01) and Smith’s second (13:27; power play) would give Buffalo an 8-7 lead at the half.

Adjustments and “Modifications”

In contrast, the third quarter was relatively quiet. Nanticoke scored his second at 0:31 to increase the lead to 9-7. Resetarits would notch his hat trick goal with a stellar individual effort, grabbing the rebound of his own shot and beating Bandits goalie Matt Vinc at 11:34 to close the gap to 9-8.

Kitchen’s second at 3:44 of the fourth quarter tied the game at 9. After the FireWolves were called for an illegal substitution, Smith (8:22) recorded his hat trick goal on the ensuing power play. Benesch (9:39) tied the game at 10 with his fourth of the night. Connor Fields (1g, 3a; 11:34) restored Buffalo’s lead again before Resetarits found a way to top the effort on his previous goal, catching a short feed while diving across the crease to beat Vinc for his fourth of the night at 13:23.

Regulation time would not end without another oddity, though. Following that goal, Tavares appeared to complain to the officials about the leggings of several Albany players matching the color of the ball too closely. As a result, Resetarits, Kitchen, and Andrew Kew were forced to leave the floor for wardrobe modifications inside the last two minutes of the game. This resulted in a less-than optimal offensive unit on the floor for what would end up being the FireWolves’ final possession of the game. Buffalo won the opening faceoff in overtime, and Kyle Buchanan (1g, 1a) would scoop up a Nanticoke shot that hit the post and beat Albany goalie Doug Jamieson far side for the winning goal 22 seconds into the extra frame.

3 Stars of the Game

  • 1st Star: Dhane Smith
  • 2nd Star: Joe Resetarits
  • 3rd Star: Ryan Benesch

Other Stats of Note:

  • Power Play: BUF 3 of 3; ALB 2 of 4
  • Joe Nardella (ALB): 18 of 27 on faceoffs
  • Jacob Ruest (ALB): 10 Loose Balls (led all players)
  • Matt Vinc (BUF): 26 saves; Doug Jamieson (ALB): 42 saves
Gary Groob
Gary Groob

Gary Groob has been involved with Lacrosse for the majority of his life, whether playing, coaching, or covering the sport for the media.

An avid fan, with a real drive about helping to “grow the game”, Gary became part of podcasts about the game 10 years ago. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob had an opportunity to write about lacrosse, and the rest as they say, is history.

Through many miles (flying and driving) Gary has made inroads with the National Lacrosse League, Major Series Lacrosse League, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, as well as the Arena Lacrosse League, covering the leagues, their teams, and players, working for, and in concert with all of them.

In the year 2020, Mr. Groob was made the media person for the Arena Lacrosse League, voted onto the board of directors of the Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club, as well as being made administrator of the Lacrosse page “Global Lacrosse” with a membership of 9000 members in over 90 Countries. Gary was also made an administrator of Lacrosse History Past Present and Future in 2022.

Mr. Groob co-hosts a weekly Lacrosse show on Spanglish Sports World, and ZingoTV channel 250, as well as writes a weekly lacrosse column for La Portada Canada News (both in print, and online).

Mr. Groob also hosts a Lacrosse talk show and podcast for The Edge of Philly Sports Network, seen live Sunday nights at 9pm (ET), and archived on the Edge of Philly YouTube page, as well as Spotify.

Mr. Groob’s other sports interests include Hockey, Football, Boxing, Wrestling, and Baseball, competing competitively in Boxing and Wrestling for many years.

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