In a jam packed race for the top of the East Division, the New England Black Wolves may be emerging as the scariest team to match up against. The Buffalo Bandits (4-2) will visit the Black Wolves (3-1) on Sunday evening at Mohegan Sun Arena with both clubs looking to close the gap on Toronto’s narrow lead atop the division.
Buffalo comes in looking to finish their weekend back-to-back with a win, while New England, for the second weekend in a row, comes in fresh hoping to take advantage of a team still reeling from losing the day before.
Sunday’s East Division matchup will feature the National Lacrosse League’s highest scoring offense with Buffalo averaging over 14 goals per game while New England is one of the league’s best defenses, only allowing 12.25 goals per game. Buffalo has a plus 19 goal differential in their four wins this season but their two loses have both been five goal defeats. New England, on the other hand, has come out on top by a total of eight goals in their three victories.
A bit of a personal storyline in this game will be for the NLL’s leading scorer, Shawn Evans, who will be returning to Mohegan Sun Arena where he captained the Black Wolves for three seasons before a midseason trade last year sent him to Buffalo. In that trade, New England acquired Callum Crawford who leads this year’s squad with 26 points.
The Bandits potent offense has some of the league’s best goals scorers in Thomas Hoggarth, Corey Small, and Evans. Adding to the offense is Josh Byrne who sits in the league’s top ten with 31 points.
For the Black Wolves, secondary scoring has become a key strength as their three headed monster on offense has stepped up and become one of the league’s best. Crawford is joined by Reilly O’Connor and Stephan Leblanc who have given opponents match up fits with each players’ ability to make a team pay on the offensive side.
A win by either team on Sunday will get them to only a half game behind the East leading, Toronto Rock. For New England, it will be their second of seven straight against East Division teams in what is shaping up to be yet another crazy season in the East.
Faceoff between the Black Wolves and Bandits is set for 6:00 p.m. on Sunday at Mohegan Sun Arena.