The Buffalo Bandits overcame a seven-goal deficit to the New York Riptide to tie the score at 13-13, but their comeback effort fell short in a 15-13 loss inside KeyBank Center on Friday.
New York scored seven consecutive goals in the second quarter to take a 10-3 lead with 7:30 to go in the half before Dhane Smith, Josh Byrne, and Ian MacKay tallied goals to cut the deficit to five at halftime.
The Bandits went on a 7-2 run to tie the score with just over two minutes to go in the game, but the Riptide answered with a goal from Jeff Teat with 1:47 left and an empty-net tally from Matt Marinier with three seconds left on the clock to record their second win of the season.
“Even though we fell short, guys didn’t give up and they made a valiant effort to try to come back and win that game,” Bandits coach John Tavares said.
The Bandits were led in scoring by Byrne (3+4) and Smith (2+5), who registered seven points each in the loss. Chase Fraser added six points (4+2) of his own while Tehoka Nanticoke tallied two goals and two assists. Goaltender Matt Vinc played 55:46 and totaled 26 saves while Steve Orleman played 4:13 in the second quarter, posting three saves.
The Riptide were led by a 10-point effort from Jeff Teat (4+6). Reilly O’Connor tallied seven assists and a goal for an eight-point night. Cameron Dunkerley was in between the pipes for the Riptide and made 47 saves.
The Bandits and the Riptide went back and forth in the opening quarter. New York got on the board first with a goal in transition, but it was quickly answered when Smith found Fraser on the crease. Fraser scored behind-the-back to put Buffalo on the board before scoring again moments later with the assist from Byrne.
The Riptide outscored the Bandits 8-3 in the second as Teat had his hand in six of New York’s eight goals in the frame. New York opened the scoring just 20 seconds into the quarter and made its seven-goal run before Smith got one back shorthanded to make it 10-4.
Kiel Matisz responded with a power-play goal before Byrne and MacKay found the back of the net to close out the half trailing by five.
The Bandits opened the third quarter with back-to-back goals from Nanticoke and Fraser, which were the product of impressive passing by Byrne and Smith. Buffalo held New York to just one goal in the third and was able to bring the game within three goals thanks to a power-play tally from Smith.
The Bandits continued their momentum into the fourth with MacKay scoring his second of the night, but the Riptide had an answer to make it 13-10 with 12 minutes to go in the game.
Over the next eight minutes, the Bandits ripped off a 3-0 run to tie the score. Nanticoke started the run with a high IQ play behind the crease. The ball trickled behind the Riptide goal and Dunkerley stepped behind his net to get it. As he did, Nanticoke snatched up the loose ball and dove towards the far post, scoring one-handed.
The game-tying goal was scored by Fraser as he dove across the crease from the left side and found the back of the net going far post. Teat drove down the floor for the Riptide and scored a goal over top of Vinc to seal New York’s win.
Buffalo fell to 3-3 on the season with the loss and has an undefeated opponent looming in the 4-0 Toronto Rock. The Bandits will take on the Rock on Saturday, Jan. 27 in Toronto
“It’s just a little adversity, right?” Fraser said. “Sometimes it’s a good thing for a team and with us, I honestly think it’s a great thing. A little adversity brings us even closer together, gets that dog fighting a little bit more and then just got to come out hot the next two-thirds of the season.”
TUCKER OUT LYMPHOMA NIGHT
The Bandits hosted their 10th rendition of Tucker Out Lymphoma Night at KeyBank Center. The special night was started in Buffalo to honor the life of Tucker Williams, the son of Bandit legend Shawn Williams, who passed away from Burkitt Lymphoma in 2014. Buffalo was honored to host Shawn and his wife Tamara.
“It’s definitely an emotional game,” Smith said. “Obviously, I try to donate to the best of my ability and wear things to donate for a great cause because Shawn and his family mean so much to me.”
Buffalo will play one more Tucker Out Lymphoma Night this season, when they head to Las Vegas in April to take on Williams’ Desert Dogs.
Honored to have the Williams family and friends in attendance tonight to celebrate the life and legacy of Tucker Williams. 💚 pic.twitter.com/vt9bv5ZDBZ
— Buffalo Bandits (@NLLBandits) January 20, 2024
Multiple forwards moved up the scoring sheets in Bandit franchise history while Vinc had another historic day.
On the first Bandits goal of the game, Smith moved to second all-time in points in franchise history. On their second goal, Byrne moved to fourth all-time in assists for the Bandits.
Vinc tallied eight saves before the end of the first half to become the first goalie in league history to reach 10,000 saves in his career.