After a pair of wins against division foes, the Buffalo Bandits dropped a back-to-back set this weekend, bringing them back to the pack in the East Division standings.
Friday’s loss was a disappointing one, but resulted from sloppy play that could easily have been remedied. Yesterday was a different experience. Undisciplined play and a slow start doomed the Bandits. A 10-5 deficit grew to a 19-11 loss, the second-straight for Buffalo.
After entering the weekend first in the East at 2-0, the Bandits had the opportunity to strengthen their hold on the top spot in the division. Now they sit at 2-2 (.5 game back from first), right in the thick of what will become a dogfight for playoff position.
The bench-clearing brawl that erupted at the end of the second half cleared a handful of players from both rosters. However, Buffalo lost Mark Steenhuis, Billy Dee Smith and Steve Priolo – three major players on the defensive side of the ball. In addition, Mike Thompson – who came in relief of Angus Goodleaf – was in the box for five minutes to begin the second half. The penalty trouble that Buffalo got in cost them, giving up nine power play goals to the Swarm.
Buffalo returns home to face Washington next Saturday. Washington will be hungry for a victory, last year’s finalist has yet to win this season. Given Buffalo’s slide, they will need to turn around their effort next week.
- The brawl really changed things for Buffalo last night. The Bandits lost quite a bit of talent to the brawl, that affected them on offense and defense. Chad Culp (3+3) and John Tavares (2+2) continued their strong play. However, without much help from their depth players, the Bandits were doomed offensively.
- Darris Kilgour made another tweak to his lineup. Mat Giles was re-inserted and turned in five assists. Obviously he brings quite a bit to the attack. I’d expect him to be locked in the rest of the year. However, Jeremy Thompson and Kevin Buchanan each sat last night. It was an interesting choice to make considering the pair gave a strong effort on Friday and have been proven contributors. It may have been the wrong choice sitting that pair down for yesterday.
- Angus Goodleaf was likely penciled in for last night’s start. He didn’t get off on the right foot, of course Thompson wasn’t stellar in relief either. Buffalo’s victories came as a result of strong defense and goaltending, their losses came with questionable defensive efforts and suspect goaltending. A steady effort from top to bottom will be a necessity this season.
- For my money, Buchanan, Giles, Wiles, Tavares, Culp, Vyse and Kelusky would be the core offensive weapons for the season. They’re the most consistent contributors and are also the most potent threats. Montour and Steenhuis are in that conversation too, but play at both ends of the floor, so I left them out.
- Here is the best brawl video I could find