The Buffalo Bandits (10-2) will look to to double up on wins this weekend as they head back home to host the Georgia Swarm (8-4). Friday night saw the Bandits snag a 12-11 overtime win in Philadelphia against the Wings. For much of that contest, the outcome could have really gone either way, however the Bandits took advantage of a late game slump by Philly, and were able to hold them scoreless in the fourth.
Georgia is coming off a 15-11 win over Rochester last week. That game was neck and neck for much of the 60 minutes of play, until Georgia pulled off a seven goal unanswered run in the third quarter. This Swarm team is one packed with offensive weapons like the Thompson Brothers, Randy Staats, and Zed Williams (among others). Buffalo needs to limit these weapons, and force Georgia’s shooters to the outside, because they are deadly on the inside.
Chase Fraser is coming into this matchup on fire. The 6’3’’, 200 pound forward from Vancouver, B.C. has notched four goals each in his last two games (including the game winner against the Wings). For a guy who averaged less than one goal per game last year, he is off to an amazing pro sophomore season with 23 goals and 10 assists for 33 points. Expect the Swarm to put a big body defender on him the whole game.
Dhane Smith sits tied for first on Buffalo in points with 71. However the 2016 League MVP had an offensive outing yesterday he’d probably rather forget. One of many key players on the offense, Smith had 12 shots on net, while only being able to bury once.
Shawn Evans is also tied for first in points and had 14 shots against Philadelphia and was also only able to bury once. These two players clearly take the bulk of the Bandits shots, but with offensive depth they can and have shared the ball. Georgia has to realize this, and will be targeting the likes of Evans, Smith, and even Corey Small. Look for guys like Fraser, Durston, Hoggarth to step up against the Swarm on the offensive side of the ball.
For Buffalo this game has big implications for the post-season. Going into this week of play, Buffalo became the first team that could clinch a playoff berth for the 2019 NLL Season. With a win over both Philadelphia and Georgia, they are able to accomplish that. They already picked up the win against the Wings, and now look to battle the Swarm to capture that much needed early playoff qualification. For the past several years Buffalo has had their post-season hopes come down to the wire, so beating Georgia and clinching that berth would be huge for Buffalo.
Gametime for this one is set for 7:30pm at Key Bank Center in downtown Buffalo. It can be watched with a subscription on the B/R Live app which is available on the web or through iTunes, Google Play, Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire.