The Buffalo Bandits (6-10) host the Georgia Swarm (11-4) in a crucial East Division match up at the KeyBank Center on Saturday, April 22 at 7:30 P.M. EST. The game will be available on NLLTV.com and is Twitter’s Game of the Week. After losing to the Swarm in a 17-16 shootout last weekend, the Bandits face a must-win scenario in the rematch to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Swarm, who have already clinched a playoff berth and the East Division title, are fighting to keep first place in the NLL and guarantee home field advantage through the postseason.
Even with a win, the Bandits still could see their postseason hopes dashed if the Toronto Rock can beat the Saskatchewan Rush in Saskatoon on Saturday. The team isn’t happy that they need help to make the playoffs, but they know the next step to the postseason is a win over Georgia.
“Our backs are against the wall and we have to beat Georgia,” said Bandits head coach Troy Cordingley. “If we want to move on, we’ll have to earn it.”
If the scenario plays out the way Buffalo want, it sets up a “win and you’re in” game next week as the Bandits host the Toronto Rock.
Georgia has beaten Buffalo in each of their two meetings so far this year. In week 2, the Swarm left Buffalo with an 18-14 victory. Last week the Swarm defended their home turf with a comeback win after the Bandits opened up an 8-3 lead early. Coach Cordingley doesn’t look too much into previous meetings and thinks they don’t have too much impact on a third or fourth meeting in the same season.
“Every game is different. There are different situations and different variables,” he said. “If we play as a team, play disciplined and create high percentage shots for ourselves we can win. We need to win multiple little battles.”
Buffalo’s offense has played well in both meetings with Georgia so far, totaling 30 goals in their two meetings, but their defense has given up 35 goals against. Cordingley is encouraged by the Bandits offense when they’re firing on all cylinders. ”We have a very good offense when we share the ball. There’s only one guy with the ball at a time, the other four players have to create confusion off the ball,” said the Bandits coach. “We did that very well for the whole game against Georgia last week.”
The game will also be the annual “Tucker Out Lymphoma” night in “Banditland.” There is a special $15 ticket price and a portion of every ticket sold will benefit Pediatric Cancer Care in honor of the late Tucker Williams. The Bandits will also sport special jerseys in honor of the occasion.