The Buffalo Bandits (2-2) will host the Vancouver Stealth (0-4) on Saturday night at 7:30P.M. at the KeyBank Center in downtown Buffalo. The Bandits are coming off of a convincing 13-8 win against the Calgary Roughnecks at home while the Stealth enter on a 24-7 loss to the Toronto Rock last weekend.
The Bandits, who are 2-0 at home and 0-2 on the road are looking forward to having back to back home games on the schedule after having a month between their first two home games.
”We love playing at home. The fans are the extra attacker for us. We’re comfortable with the surroundings and the atmosphere,” said Bandits head coach Troy Cordingley. “We don’t travel and we don’t have to eat out. It’s always good to stay at home and play.”
Despite Vancouver being off to a slow start and coming off a bad loss, the Bandits realize they can’t afford to take them lightly.
“I know for a fact that Vancouver isn’t an 0-4 team. They’re an awfully good team with awfully good parts, but for whatever reason they haven’t been able to put those parts together this year,” said Cordingley. “I don’t care if they lost by 100 goals last week, we won’t be taking them lightly.
“We have to approach this as a crucial game for ourselves. We’re only a .500 team right now. The team that’s the hungriest is usually successful. We have to string two games together here.”
The Bandits will be looking for more consistency from their team, particularly from their defense and their goaltending. After a nice home win where Buffalo’s goaltender Alex Buque turned away 57 of the 66 shots he faced, Buque was chased from the crease in both road games. Last week, the defense and goaltender were back up to the task as the Roughnecks were held to 52 shots that Buque stopped 44 of.
Buffalo defense and goaltending seemed to improve as the game went on against Calgary.
“Our defense has been a focus of ours, we’ve rebuilt it a bit,” added Cordingley. “Last game we were a bit shaky at first, we may have had too much energy. We weren’t taking proper angles and sticking to our man. As we went, we got stronger and really dictated where shots were coming from.”
The Stealth still are hoping to turn this season around. Despite the poor start and last week’s game where they trailed 17-1 at halftime, they’re still only one game behind Calgary for the final playoff spot in the West.
“We’re gripping our sticks,” said Stealth head coach Jamie Batley to NLL.com last week. “Our expectations were really high and we’re 0-4. We’ll try to correct some of the chronic mistakes and move on.”
If history repeats itself, Vancouver may have a tough time winning in Buffalo since they haven’t since 2012. Buffalo also has beaten Vancouver the last six times they’ve met.
The game will be available streaming live on NLLTV (NLLTV.com) for subscribers.