The Buffalo Bandits (7-7) will play host to the New England Black Wolves (6-7) on Saturday night at the KeyBank Center in downtown Buffalo. The tilt will be the third and final time these teams will meet this regular season with Buffalo having won both games in New England. On February 9, the Bandits gave the Wolves their first home loss of the season with an 18-13 win. Last Friday, the Bandits found everything was working, especially their offense and won 20-7.
After two tough losses on back-to-back days last week, Bandits head coach Troy Cordingley expects a different Black Wolves team to visit on Saturday night.
“It felt good to win again, especially after four losses in a row, but at the same time we know the team we played last weekend will not be the same team we play this weekend,” noted Cordingley. “They’ll have a different attitude toward this game and we have to be prepared. They’re going to be a desperate team like we were going to their rink last week. They’re coming to our rink wanting to make the playoffs just as bad as we do and their compete level is going to be high.”
The East Division continues to be extremely tight with one game separating first and last place between all five teams. Every team in the East has seen ebbs and flows in their season and with so few games left, both teams will be looking for a crucial division win. The team from the East that finds a winning streak now could find themselves in the driver’s seat.
“This would be the best time for a team to peak and to go on an extended winning streak, but it’s extremely difficult to win every week,” said Cordingley. “Injuries have a lot to do with it, but that’s not an excuse. We still have to play the games, big games, and we know what’s at stake.”
Three teams are currently tied at 7-7 in the middle of the division. The Toronto Rock find themselves on top with a 7-6 record while the Black Wolves are in last at 6-7.
Rookie Vaughn Harris is continuing to find his groove since cracking the lineup due to some injuries. Last week in New England the righty notched four goals, four assists and went 20 of 29 in the faceoff circle against one of the best faceoff specialists in the NLL, Jay Thorimbert.
“Last week was Vaughn’s best game for us. We gave him a little bit more responsibility, we needed him to take faceoffs and we asked him to give us some solid defense and transition as well as play offense,” Cordingley said. “He’s a good kid. He’s worked hard. We’re expecting a big one out of him again on Saturday.”
Faceoff is set for 7:30P.M. EST on Saturday and will be streaming on NLLTV.com and its affiliates.