The Buffalo Bandits will be looking to get back in the win column as they return home to host the Philadelphia Wings. Buffalo has been taking the league by storm this season, winning five straight games and climbing the North Division standings before getting their streak broken at the hands of the Toronto Rock last Sunday.
The Bandits went into Toronto with a full plate, as they were on the other side of the continent just two days prior where they defeated the Vancouver Warriors 15-8. Buffalo came out firing on all cylinders once they returned back east as well, and at halftime with an 8-8 score made it appear like a classic back and forth Rock vs. Bandits matchup.
Once the second half rolled around however, you could tell the Bandits looked like a team that had the wind sucked out of their sails. Buffalo managed just one goal in the second half in Toronto, and it came in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, with the Rock taking the game 13-9. The orange and black should be well rested now though, and should be able to put that Rock game behind them as they look to Philadelphia.
While Buffalo’s overall win streak might have been snapped, their home win streak has not. The Bandits have won their last three at home, and will host the Wings in front of the passionate atmosphere of Banditland.
Buffalo has had major success on the offensive ball so far this season. They have three players in the top 20 for goal scoring league wide, with Josh Byrne (23g), Chris Cloutier (16g), and Dhane Smith (15g) all making the leaderboard. What makes this game a bit different, and challenge for the Buffalo offensive unit, is the competition they will be up against. Wings netminder Zach Higgins ranks third in the league in GAA at 8.83 and second in save percentage at .823.
While the Philly defense is on the younger side, they’ve proven more than capable and will look to contain the high powered offensive strength Buffalo will bring to the table on Saturday night.
While Buffalo does bring a wealth of offensive threats, Philadelphia brings a few of their own. Kevin Crowley and Brett Hickey have become the center of their offense, the latter of whom leads Philadelphia in goals with 17 while Crowley isn’t far behind with 15 goals of his own.
One major obstacle Buffalo will no doubt be facing against the Wings will be at the faceoff dot. Trevor Baptiste has gone 142 for 192 from center floor for Philly, while Buffalo has struggled with Ian MacKay at 53 for 109. The Bandits have gotten this far success wise without much emphasis on the dot, but in a game where possessions mean everything, the Wings certainly have the edge.
On the injury front, Buffalo once again will be without captain and defenseman Steve Priolo, who has been moved to injured reserve following his early exit three games ago against Rochester. Buffalo is a team that prides itself on depth however, and will look towards guys like Nick Weiss, Mitch de Snoo, and Ian MacKay to step up and lead the back end.
The Bandits will look to improve their 6-2 record against the 5-3 Wings at the Key Bank Center. Faceoff is set for 7pm. The Bandits are on the coattails of the division leading Halifax Thunderbirds, and a win for them gets them tied in that effort of overtaking the T-Birds. The game 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.