The Philadelphia Wings (1-0) defeated the visiting Buffalo Bandits (0-1) by a score of 13-8 to open their 2013 National Lacrosse League season on Friday night at Wells Fargo Center.
Two Wings newcomers, Kevin Buchanan and Jordan Hall, made a huge impact in their first game with Philadelphia. Buchanan recorded six points (3+3) while Hall notched a game-high seven points (1+6). Wings forward Kevin Crowley had five points (4+1) while transition player Brodie Merrill collected 15 loose balls. Paul Rabil had two assists and five loose balls in his Wings debut.
Wings rookie Ethan Farrell opened the scoring almost four minutes into the game, the first of his two acrobatic diving goals, as he converted on an "Air Gait" dunk from behind the net later on.
"It felt great to contribute," Farrell said. "The energy from the crowd was awesome tonight. To be able to come out and score the first goal was an amazing feeling."
Buchanan scored against his old team to make it 2-0 before former Wings player David Brock returned the favor by opening the scoring for Buffalo midway through the first quarter.
Bandits newcomer Aaron Wilson tied the game at 2-2 with three minutes left in the first, but that was the closest the Bandits would get as the Wings never trailed in the game.
Crowley scored late in the first quarter for Philadelphia before adding two more goals before half. The Wings took an 8-4 lead into halftime with four first-half powerplay goals as the Bandits registered 25 penalty minutes over the first two quarters.
The Wings led the Bandits 11-6 after the third quarter before Buffalo made it 11-8 with Wilson's second goal of the night with 4:45 left. However, Buchanan scored his third of the night a minute later on a delayed Bandits penalty to make it 12-8 and the Wings never looked back.
Wings goalie Brandon Miller made 43 saves on 51 shots while Anthony Cosmo and Kurtis Wagar combined to make 46 saves on 59 shots for the Bandits in the losing effort.
Tracey Kelusky (1+2) and Shawn Williams (1+2) led the Bandits with three points each. Buffalo's biggest highlight of the night came in the second quarter on an uncontested goal by John Tavares, who used the "hidden-ball trick," as the Wings followed Luke Wiles around, leaving Tavares and the ball all alone on the far side of the field.
The Bandits return home tomorrow night for a 7:30 p.m. ET faceoff against the Minnesota Swarm at First Niagara Center while the Wings hit the road next weekend to take on the Toronto Rock on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. ET at Air Canada Centre.
Dave Walls contributed to this report for NLL.com.