The Buffalo Bandits will take their NLL-leading 8-1 record to the state capital on Saturday to face the Albany FireWolves for the second time this season.
It will be Buffalo’s quickest turnaround between an opponent so far this season, with only 14 days separating their two meetings.
This will also be the first time the Bandits play back-to-back games on the road. Last weekend in Rochester, Banditland traveled in bunches and fueled the team to complete the season-series sweep of the Knighthawks.
Albany sits at 5-6, having won their last game out in San Diego to snap a three-game losing streak. In the 13-12 victory, the FireWolves handed the Seals their second loss of the season, a feat they will also be looking to accomplish against the Bandits.
The FireWolves are 3-2 so far this season in MVP Arena, beating the Georgia Swarm back on February 5th, along with Halifax and Saskatchewan in January.
Faceoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday is available on ESPN+ and The Bet 1520 AM.
Here is everything you need to know:
1. Last time out
The first game of the season between these two teams was pretty streaky. All of the 21 combined goals were scored on the net closest to the Bandits bench. Albany scored only in the odd quarters and Buffalo scored only in the evens.
Buffalo prevailed by a score of 13-8 in the game of runs but that doesn’t mean Albany didn’t put the Bandits on their heels of a potential second-straight loss.
With only one goal scored in the first 15 minutes of action between the two high-powered offenses, Buffalo ramped it up, netting six goals in the second and seven in the final frame.
Chris Cloutier led the way with four goals and a helper, while Josh Byrne posted a five-assist night. Matt Vinc made a season-high 54 saves between the pipes in another impressive showing.
2. Fields and Nanticoke Reunion
Connor Fields and Tehoka Nanticoke will make their return to Albany. The former collegiate lacrosse standouts at the University of Albany are not only examples of some of the best talent the Albany program has produced, but also two of the highest scorers in NCAA history.
As teammates back in 2018 when Fields was a senior and Nanticoke a freshman, the duo combined for 105 goals and 94 assists. They led the Great Danes to a 16-3 record, but lost to the eventual NCAA-champion Yale Bulldogs in the semifinals.
Fields finished his college career with 364 points (199+165) in 69 games during his four years, placing him fourth all-time in the NCAA record books.
Nanticoke was off to a record pace with 82 points as a freshman, but injuries and COVID-19 limited him to a total of 39 career games for Albany (including only nine in his final two seasons), while still finishing with 170 points (109+64).
In their first season with the Bandits, the Albany products have combined for 60 points in nine games. Fields is tied for the team-lead in goals with 20 and is 13th in the NLL, while Nanticoke is tied with Riptide’s Jeff Teat for the league lead among rookies with 17 goals.
Expect a healthy amount of offense from these two on Saturday night.
3. Red-Hot Resetarits
The NLL has a new top scorer as Joe Resetarits has taken the league by storm with his dominance of late.
The Hamburg, N.Y. native has tallied 66 points through 11 games. Dhane Smith is the second in scoring with 62 points in two fewer games played. Resetarits trails Smith in the assist department 42 to 39 and is second in goals to Toronto’s Tom Schreiber.
Resetarits has done most of his damage in the past month with 18 goals and 30 assists. In his lone game against his hometown team, Resetarits finished as the game’s Second Star, recording five points. His consecutive goals in the third quarter included Albany’s second of five power-play goals against the Bandits.