Kevin M. Neibauer
LaxPhilly– A Division of the Edge of Philly Sports Network
Bandits Cruise 17-12 Over Philadelphia.
What has 29 goals, 45 assists and 100 shots?
The Buffalo Bandits-Philadelphia Wings rare Thursday night game.
The juggernaut that is the Buffalo Bandits (13-1) came into the Wells Fargo Center to take on the Wings (6-8).
The Bandits have steamrolled through the schedule.
Buffalo has been particularly hard on Philadelphia.
Two wins by a combined score of 34-17.
As usual, Dhane Smith and Josh Byrne led the parade combining for 13 points
Part of what makes Smith so great is his ability to fly ‘under the radar”.
You hardly notice him but, end of game he puts up 7 or 8 points.
What Went On?
Goals came quickly and often in the opening stanza starting with former Wing, Chris Cloutier (1g,2a) beating Zach Higgins just :59 in
Thirty nine seconds later, Ian MacKay hit Connor Fields (2g,3a) that doubled the Buffalo lead.
Philadelphia got on the board at 2:25 when Blaze Riorden (3g, 1 helper) converted a Kiel Matisz set up to cut it to 2-1.
Chase Fraser (4g) reinstituted the two goal lead but, Kevin “Big Cat” Crowley and Matisz had a pretty work around with newly acquired, Kyle Jackson (1g,4a) reaping the benefit.
It then became the Bandits show.
Fields, former Wing, Kyle Buchanan (3g,3a), Ian MacKay (1g,2a) and, on a breakaway, yet another former Wing, Frank Brown (1g) scored using pure speed.
How spread out was the Buffalo offense? Not only were they holding a 7-2 lead but no fewer than 11 players registered at least one point
Crowley (2g,4a) stopped the Buffalo run at 1:03 with help from Corey Small (2a) and Sam LeClair (1g,1a) registering his first point as a Wing.
The four goal Bandits run wasn’t enough as they embarked on another run, this one of three.
Dhane Smith and Steve Priolo (2a) worked magic with Josh Byrne (2g,4a) pulling the rabbit out of the hat.
Smith (2g,5a) assisted on another Buchanan strike then did it himself to bring the curtain down on the half with Buffalo comfortably ahead, 10-3.
To the Third
Alex Pace (1g) ended the second Bandits run on a transition tally started by Steph Charbonneau (1a).
Did I mention a Buffalo run? Let’s make it three.
Fraser, Smith, Fraser at even strength and again short handed gave Fraser the third quarter hat trick.
The 12th Bandits goal (Dhane Smith) prompted Coach Paul Day to yank netminder, Zach Higgins and replaced him with Angus Goodleaf.
Ethan O’Conner was cited for a five minute penalty when he nearly decapitated Kevin Crowley.
Philly was primed for a comeback but, Fraser ruined that plan scoring on the disadvantage.
The Wings were able to save face when Kiel Matisz (2g, 3a) not only stopped the run, got a power play goal and ended the scoring in the third.
End of Three:
Philadelphia had a seven goal final stanza to make the score a bit more respectable.
Matisz hit the second man up Philly goal with just :29 gone with help from Jackson.
Twenty nine seconds later, Riorden made it two in a row to get it to a 14-7 game.
Buffalo simply yawned and matched with Byrne at 2:50 followed by Buchanan at 3:17 and we were looking at a 16-7 game.
Could Philly pull it out? Jackson and Crowley set up Riorden’s hat trick.
Crowley with a beautiful.imdividual effort followed by the first as a Wing by LeClair (1g,1a) put a dent in the lead, 16-10.
At 7:55 it was Ethan O’Connor (1g) etching his name on the score sheet for the 17th Bandits goal. With four and a half to play, Cory Vittarelli (2g) potted his first and the Theater of the Bizarre took place moments later.
Vittarelli hit net as time expired..so, book rule calls for a review.
After nearly three minutes, the call would stand and we went to a meaningless face off with the clock reading all zero’s.
Shots on Goal were very surprising. Philadelphia 55 Buffalo 45….yeah, it was that kind of night for the Wings.
Face offs went 23 of 32 Philadelphia with Trevor Baptiste taking every one while picking up an assist.
Power Plays had Philly going 2 for 4 and Buffalo 0 of 1 with a shorthanded goal.
Buffalo finished with no fewer than 15 players achieving at least one point.
Matt Vinc was well…Matt Vinc. Stopping 35 shots on his 48:17.
Doug Buchan (yet another former Wing) got some quality playing time with 8 saves and allowing 5 goals in his 11:43.
Zach Higgins came back into the game to finish with 36:40 allowing a dozen markers while stopping 19 shots.
Angus Goodleaf surrendered 5 goals with 9 saves in 21:20.
Philly goes right back at it Saturday night against the New York Riptide.
The Wings have the dubious task of having to beat, New York, San Diego, Albany and Georgia, all road games. and need help with losses by Albany and Georgia if they want to taste post season play.
Bandits Dismantle Wings
Kevin has followed and promoted the game of lacrosse since May 19, 1974.
The same day the Philadelphia Flyers won the Cup, the Philadelphia Wings were introduced to Neibauer and Philadelphia.
Kevin has covered many sports, including baseball, football, basketball, and.. lacrosse. A former licensed football referee and baseball umpire, Kevin brings a unique insight to his game coverage.
A published writer in JustHockey Magazine, Kevin covered the American Hockey League as well as a monthly story on a pugilist where Kevin used the pen name, The Rink Rat. Neibauer turned his attentions to lacrosse for a few years and does his part, whether podcasting or writing to grow the game. Kevin branched out to his roots and currently provides insight for all Philadelphia teams for Edge of Philly as well as his full-time duties with LaxPhilly.