Four goals from Kevin Crowley, a hat trick from ex-Bandit Kevin Buchanan, and a strong performance from goaltender Brendan Miller helped lead the Philadelphia Wings (1-0) to a 13-8 win over the Buffalo Bandits (0-1) in the 2013 season opener for both teams.
The Bandits got two goals from newcomer Aaron Wilson, and 2012 fifth overall draft pick Dhane Smith netted his first career NLL goal in the loss.
Bandits starting goaltender Anthony Cosmo was replaced by backup Kurtis Wagar near the end of the second quarter after giving up eight goals. Wagar went on to make 13 saves in relief duty.
The Bandits fell behind by a score of 2-0 early, but managed to tie it up with a shorthanded goal from David Brock and a goal from Aaron Wilson. The Wings took the lead with less than a minute to go, when Kevin Crowley beat Cosmo on a 5-on-3 advantage.
The Wings proceeded to pull away in the second half, scoring four more unanswered goals, including three during a five-minute major penalty assessed to the Bandits’ Mark Steenhuis, to make it 7-2.
The Bandits Sean Williams answered right back with a breakaway goal just 31 seconds later after Scott Self fired a beautiful breakout pass downfield to a streaking Williams. However, Buchanan answered right back for the Wings, scoring his third goal of the night to make it 8-3, and ending Cosmo’s night.
The Bandits had a late push in the fourth quarter, getting as close as three goals but could not get closer than that. Ultimately, it was the Bandits’ inability to sustain an offensive rush and several penalties, including two five-minute majors, that led to the loss.
The Bandits will not have much time to linger on the loss, as they will return home tomorrow to play the Minnesota Swarm at 7:30 PM at the First Niagara Center (KB1520 AM/The Lacrosse Network). Fans can buy tickets at Tickets.com or at the First Niagara Center box office.
- Alex Bielman