The Buffalo Bandits have a chance to get back on track and earn their fifth win of the year when they take on the Philadelphia Wings tonight.
Faceoff at Wells Fargo Center is slated for 7 p.m. on ESPN+ and WGR 550.
Buffalo sustained only its second loss of the season last weekend when they fell to the undefeated Rochester Knighthawks 15-12.
Despite the loss, the Bandits remain in second place in the Eastern Conference standings, trailing only Rochester, who is now 6-0.
The Wings currently sit at sixth place in the East with a record of 2-3 after losing to the Toronto Rock last week.
Philadelphia is led by Joe Resetarits, who has 27 points, Blaze Riorden, who has a team-high 13 goals and Matt Rambo, who has a produced a club-high 16 assists.
Through nine weeks of the NLL season, Bandits forwards Dhane Smith and Josh Byrne lead the league in a majority of offensive statistics, including goals, assists and points. Byrne is at the top in goals (24) and points (45), and Smith is first in assists (33) and second in points (42), forming a dangerous pair for other teams to deal with.
Smith believes their friendship has led to the outpouring of offense.
“I think it’s our relationship off the field to be honest,” he said. “We always bounce ideas off each other. We’re just really close off the field that it relates to on the field and what we can do there.”
Along with the lethal offensive duo, other contributors have played a large part in the Bandits successes this year.
Goaltender Matt Vinc is among the league leaders in wins (4) and saves (245), coming in second for the former and first for the latter.
“Our teammates around us are the people making us better. It’s a group unit, and for us to take the next step, it’s going to take everybody,” Smith said.
Going into Friday’s matchup, Buffalo holds a narrow 26-25 lead in the all-time series against Philadelphia, a stat that the Bandits will look to cushion even more at Wells Fargo Center.
Looking To Rebound
Friday’s game will give the Bandits a chance to return to the win column, but they know that it will not be an easy task. Despite Philadelphia’s record and place in the standings, the Bandits hold a shared mindset that every game is important.
“They’re a hungry team,” Smith said. “Every game is important, especially these eastern matchups, so we’re gonna treat this like another big game like it is. We’re on the road so this is gonna be a huge test for us. Both teams need a win, so we’re excited about it.”
After the game, the team will travel to face the New York Riptide on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.