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Bandits Defeat Wings In Season Opener, 15 11

12/31/2008, 12:11pm EST
By National Lacrosse League

Sellout crowd watches Buffalo win on banner raising night

The Buffalo Bandits defeated the Philadelphia Wings 15-11 before a sellout crowd of 18,690 at HSBC Arena in Buffalo on Saturday night. Mark Steenhuis led the Bandits with four goals and four assists on the night that the Bandits unveiled their 2008 championship banner and honored the late Tom Borrelli. Geoff Snider had a goal and five assists for the Wings and won 24 out of 27 faceoffs.

Game scoring got off to a fast start. Geoff Snider won the game's opening faceoff, and teammate Drew Westervelt scored ten seconds into the game for the first goal of the NLL season to give Philadelphia a 1-0 lead.

The Buffalo Bandits defeated the Philadelphia Wings 15-11 before a sellout crowd of 18,690 at HSBC Arena in Buffalo on Saturday night. Mark Steenhuis led the Bandits with four goals and four assists on the night that the Bandits unveiled their 2008 championship banner and honored the late Tom Borrelli. Geoff Snider had a goal and five assists for the Wings and won 24 out of 27 faceoffs.

Game scoring got off to a fast start. Geoff Snider won the game's opening faceoff, and teammate Drew Westervelt scored ten seconds into the game for the first goal of the NLL season to give Philadelphia a 1-0 lead. Ten minutes of play elapsed before Mark Steenhuis scored Buffalo's first goal of the season to tie the score 1-1. Both teams scored two more times for a 3-3 tie after the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Buffalo received goals from Steenhuis, Roger Vyse and Kevin Dostie. Mike Thompson turned away six of the seven Wings shot he faced, and the Bandits led 6-4 at halftime.

Buffalo continued to dominate in the third quarter, outscoring the Wings 4-1 to take a 10-5 lead entering the fourth quarter. In the fourth, the Bandits seemed to have the game in hand when Steen huis scored his fourth goal of the game to give Buffalo a 12-6 lead with 13 minutes remaining in the contest. The Wings responded with three straight goals (Mat Giles, Westervelt and Kyle Sweeney) to close within three (12-9) with six minutes remaining, but the Bandits traded goals with the Wings the rest of the way to win their season opener.

Steenhuis led all scores with eight points (4G. 4A). John Tavares (3G, 2A), Kevin Dostie (2G, 2A) and Roger Vyse (2G, 2A) led the way for the Bandits offense. Mike Thompson saved 32 out of 43 shots faced in the Buffalo net.

Philadelphia was led by Geoff Snider with six points (1G, 5A) and Drew Westervelt (3G, 2A). Snider also won 24 out of 27 faceoffs in the game. Rob Blasdell saved 25 out of 35 shots faced in the first three quarters of the game before giving way to Brandon Miller (9 saves on 13 shots faced in the fourth quarter).

The Bandits return to action next Saturday when they travel to Toronto to face the Rock. Philadelphia next plays on Saturday at Rochester.

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