Bandits And Wings Set for Third Meeting
from Press Releases
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One week removed from a tough loss at Rochester, the Buffalo Bandits look to rebound at home Saturday night against the Philadelphia Wings at 7:30 p.m. at First Niagara Center.
"We did not get the outcome that we were looking for [last week]," Bandits general manager Steve Dietrich said. "I do not think we were as bad defensively as some thought, but offensively, we struggled."
Rochester held Buffalo (5-2) without a goal for 38:39 last Saturday. Dietrich, a 2011 NLL Hall of Fame goaltender, thinks that his offense could be more unselfish with the ball.
"Offense was never my forte when I played," he said. "But, everybody needs to start worrying about the little things. It should not matter who scores. It's about winning and losing. And, I think we need to emulate how [unselfishly] Philadelphia plays on offense."
Entering Saturday, the Wings have at least five players with 26 points. Jordan Hall, who did not play last Saturday, leads the team with 16 goals.
"If Kyle Buchanan gets five one night and Kevin Crowley and Tracy Kelusky don't score and they come away with a win, that's all that matters. I think that's what we need to do," Dietrich said.
Philadelphia (3-5) lost back-to-back games last weekend, falling 20-10 on the road at Toronto before coming home and dropping an 8-6 decision to unbeaten Edmonton.
"We had some players dealing with injuries and we weren't very good the way we played in Toronto," Wings coach Blane Harrison said. "We were able to build off some strong execution against Edmonton and hope to bounce back this week."
Saturday marks the third and final meeting of the regular season between Philadelphia and Buffalo. The road team has won the two previous contests.
On Dec. 28, the Wings outworked the Bandits at home, handing them a season-opening 17-13 loss that disappointed many, including Bandits head coach Troy Cordingley.
"We were outworked, we were outplayed, we were out-everything," he said. "We were terrible."
Just over two weeks later, the Bandits traveled to Philadelphia on Jan. 12 and handed the Wings a 12-11 overtime loss. Bandits captain John Tavares scored his fifth goal of the game 55 seconds into overtime to secure the victory. Dhane Smith scored a career-high nine points (3+6) to lead all scorers in the victory.
The winner of the meeting captures the season series: an important mark for both the head-to-head tiebreaker and respective divisional records. As both teams are expected to compete for a playoff spot in the NLL East Division, the result of Saturday's game could have a big effect on the standings at the end of the season.
Following disappointing back-to-back matchups against Toronto and Edmonton last weekend, the Philadelphia Wings of the National Lacrosse League (NLL) look to right their ship when they visit Buffalo at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, NY on Saturday, February 15 at 7:30 p.m.
"We felt good going into last weekend, but didn't perform like we wanted to," said Head Coach Blane Harrison. "We had some players dealing with injuries and we weren't very good the way we played in Toronto. We were able to build off some strong execution against Edmonton and hope to bounce back this week."
The Wings play the Buffalo Bandits for the final time during the
2014 regular season. This marks the third faceoff between the NLL
East Division foes. Both teams spoiled each other's home openers
this year with victories on the road. Buffalo is currently ranked
first in the East carrying a record of 5-2.
Philadelphia was left with a sour taste in their mouths when they were defeated by Buffalo earlier in January. The Bandits won in overtime on a sudden death goal by Forward John Tavares.
The Wings will turn to a group five forwards to pace them on offense. Forwards Jordan Hall, Kyle Buchanan and Ryan Ward rank among the NLL leaders in points, goals and assists. Forward Tracey Kelusky faces his former squad in Buffalo. This season he has recorded 10 points against them (four goals, six assists). Lastly, Forward Kevin Crowley has begun to heat-up. Crowley has posted two multi-goal games in-a-row (five goals, one assist).
"My season started off slower than I would have liked," said Wings Forward Kevin Crowley. "These last couple of games I have started to hit my stride. The offense is getting comfortable playing together. The different rotations are developing a solid chemistry with eachother."
Buffalo has four players with double-digits in goals and points. Forwards Ryan Benesch, John Tavares, Mark Steenhuis and Transition Player Dhane Smith comprise a potent offensive attack for the Bandits. As a team, Buffalo has scored the fourth most goals in the league (82 total).
The Wings make their way back to Philadelphia when they face the Minnesota Swarm at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday, February 23 at 4 p.m.
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