The Buffalo Bandits got on the scoreboard early and often Saturday night as they eclipsed the .500 plateau yet again by defeating the visiting Columbus Landsharks by a score of 12-8 at HSBC Arena.
Buffalo jumped out to a 3-1 advantaged just eight minutes into the opening quarter and never let Columbus get back in the game. By halftime, the Bandits had built up a commanding 9-5 lead by scoring quick and playing solid defense, despite missing assistant captain and top defenseman Andy Ogilve due to a leg injury.
The early run was a sign of things to come, as the Landsharks never got closer than a two-goal deficit all game long.
Much of that can be attributed to the stellar play of Bandit goaltender Steve Dietrich, who stopped 41 of 49 Landshark shots to get the win for Buffalo. His counterpart, former Bandit Phil Wetherup, had a much tougher night, turning away 38 of Buffalo's 50 shots.
Dietrich made several big saves for Buffalo, including an acrobatic kick-save to keep them in the lead, 10-8, just after surrendering a short-handed goal early in the fourth quarter. He also limited the Landsharks to just three second half goals en route to earning game MVP honors.
Providing the offensive firepower for the Bandits were forwards Randy Mearns and Mike Accursi, who each recorded three goals, with Mearns picking up an assist. Chris Driscoll played the role of playmaker, tallying five assists.
Forward Brent Rothfuss lead the way for Columbus, scoring two goals and helping out with two assists.