The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The Buffalo Bandits pulled off two trades and picked up four new players on Feb. 12, but although there were new faces running up and down the floor at HSBC Arena Friday night, the result was the same has it always is when the Philadelphia Wings come to town ? a lopsided Buffalo victory.
The Bandits went on a six-goal run to open the second half en route to a 19-14 win over the Wings before 7,726 fans in a game that was postponed from Dec. 29 due to heavy snowfall. John Tavares lit the lamp twice during the game-breaking run, and earned game MVP honors with 11 points (5G, 6A). The Bandits beat Philadelphia 26-18 in last season?s game at HSBC Arena.
The game was a far cry from the defensive struggle the two teams had earlier this season in Philadelphia, an 8-7 Wings victory. By late in the second quarter the teams had equaled their goal output from the previous match up, and even combined to score 13 goals during the wildly offensive period.
The second quarter featured two three-goal runs by the Bandits and one by Philadelphia. All in all, Buffalo picked up seven goals by seven different players, highlighted by a goal from Jonas Derks.
Derks, acquired in one of the Feb. 12 trades from the New York Saints, came into the slot from behind the net, was checked to his stomach, and as he was falling, buried a shot to the low stick side of Wings? goaltender Dallas Eliuk.
Eliuk had an uncharacteristic off night, and was ejected from the game in the fourth quarter when he received a match penalty for kicking. He faced 50 shots, allowing 18 goals.
Philadelphia?s Kevin Finneran had a career-night in the loss, picking up eight points (6G, 2A). Tom Marecheck was the Wings? next leading scorer with seven points (2G, 5A).
Other than Tavares, Mike Accursi led the Bandits? attack with seven points (3G, 4A). He was followed by the newly acquired Roy Colsey, who had five points (2G, 3A).
Buffalo goaltender Steve Dietrich finished with 44 saves.
The Bandits, who improve to 7-5 with the win, are in a dog fight for the NLL?s sixth and final playoff spot, and will play at Albany tomorrow at 1p.m. Buffalo?s four remaining games are all against teams that would make the playoffs if it were to begin tomorrow.
Philadelphia, who falls to 5-5 after the loss, is also fighting for a playoff spot, and will take on the Columbus Landsharks tomorrow at the First Union Center.