John Tavares scored five goals and assisted on four others to lead his Buffalo Bandits (2-0) over the Columbus Landsharks (3-1), in a battle for the top of the Central Division at the HSBC Arena. The Bandits dominated all facets of the game, scoring twelve first half goals to put away the Landsharks early.
The Bandits started the game scoring early and often, with Kerry Susheski (4g, 1a), scoring twice in the first 34 seconds of action. 30 seconds later, Mike Accursi (4g, 3a) put the Bandits up 3-0. Columbus responded with a pair from Kasey Beirnes (2g, 0a) and former Bandit Pat Maddalena (1g, 2a), cutting the lead to 3-2.
However, Buffalo scored nine of the next ten to close out the half, taking a commanding 12-3 lead into the locker room. A pair of goals from Mark Steenhuis, who was acquired from Columbus in a trade for Ken Montour earlier this month, highlighted the run.
John Tavares scored the game-winner at 1:30 of the 2nd quarter.
Jason Crosbie (1g, 6a) and Aime Caines (0g, 4a) also helped the Bandits to victory.
The Bandits improve to 2-0, taking command of the Central Division as they prepare to visit the New Jersey Storm next Sunday. The Landsharks fall to 3-1, looking at another key division battle at Albany on Friday.