Bandits open season with win over Wings 17-15

December 15, 2018 - 4:33 pm

The Buffalo Bandits held on to beat the expansion Philadelphia Wings 17-15 on Saturday afternoon to open up the 2018-19 NLL season. Shawn Evans scored the game winning goal with 1:05 to go in regulation to break a 15-15 tie. 

The Bandits opened the game with a 3-0 lead on goals from Thomas Hoggarth and Corey Small. The Wings looked nervous in the opening minutes of their debut in front of their home fans. Buffalo took a 10-7 lead halfway through the second quarter when the Wings pulled started goaltender Doug Buchan and replaced him with former Bandit Davide DiRuscio. The Wings started to find their footing after that point as DiRuscio made several saves while their offseason started to keep pace with the Bandit offense. 

Buffalo took an 11-9 lead into the locker room at halftime, and extended it to 13-9 early in the third quarter. They had a five minute power play during that time that included a two-man advantage, but only managed one goal with the extra man. Philadelphia responded with a three-goal run to close within a goal 13-12. The teams traded goals into the final quarter before the Wings put together back-to-back goals with less than five minutes remaining to tie the game 15-15.

Evans scored the next to goal to give Buffalo the lead back for good. Dhane Smith appeared to score goal just 30 seconds later to extend the lead, but it was overturned on review. To make matters worse, Smith had to be helped off the field with an injury to his left leg. Smith had previously left the game in the third quarter after taking a check to the head. The Bandits defense shut down the Wings in the final minute and iced the game with an empty net goal from captain Steve Priolo. 

Evans led the Bandits with nine points (2G, 7A) for his best game with the team. Corey Small scored five goals, all in the first half, in his Bandits debut. Smith (2G, 6A) and Josh Byrne (1G, 7A) each recorded eight points in the victory. Thomas Hoggarth scored a hat trick as he will play more predominantly on offense this season. Goalie Matt Vinc made 36 saves on 51 shots in his first game with the Bandits. 

The Bandits will spend the holidays and ring in 2019 in Buffalo as their next four games are at home. The homestand starts this Friday when they welcome the Toronto Rock to the KeyBank Center.

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