Following back-to-back victories on the road in Rochester and Albany, the Bandits will return home to take on the Philadelphia Wings on Saturday.
Entering the game with the best record in the NLL at 9-1, Buffalo is seeking its sixth-straight victory at KeyBank Center and fourth-straight win overall.
The Wings sit at 5-6 so far this season, tied for fourth in the Eastern Conference with the Georgia Swarm. Philadelphia is looking to snap the longest active losing streak in the NLL following back-to-back losses against Halifax and another against Toronto.
This season, Philadelphia has played only three road games, which is tied with Halifax for the fewest in the league at this point. Six of the Wings’ final seven games will be played on the road.
The Bandits will also be hosting Wing Night during the game. Chicken wings will available for purchase in sections 101, 117, 305, 320 and the Grill at Club Level. There will also be a “Wings of Banditland” banner for fans to take pictures behind throughout the night.
There will be a mascot race at halftime, which will include Rax, and Chicken Wing, Atomic Wing and Blue Cheese from the Buffalo Bisons.
The game will stream live on ESPN+ and the radio call can be found on The Bet 1520 AM.
Here is everything you need to know:
1. Scouting the Wings
Offensively, the Wings are led by Kevin Crowley, who has 39 assists and 55 points this season. The 2011 first-round pick ranks third in the NLL in helpers, trailing only Dhane Smith (47) and Joe Resetarits (41).
“The scouting report on Philly is they are a big, strong, athletic defense, and it’s going to take our full team playing the full 60 minutes to win,” Bandits forward Chris Cloutier said.
Wings forwards Matt Rambo, Corey Small, Brett Hickey and Ben McIntosh all have produced impressive seasons for Philadelphia.
Trevor Baptiste is second in the league with a 65 percent winning faceoff percentage. He’s also scooped up 107 loose balls, placing him fifth in the NLL.
Goaltender Zach Higgins has been solid for the Wings, saving 396 shots for a .797 save percentage.
2. Potent Power Play
Even though they have only scored 116 goals compared to Buffalo’s 130 tallies, Philadelphia takes full advantage of their power-play opportunities.
The Wings are first in the NLL with a 52.4-percent success rate with the man advantage, scoring on 22 of 42 chances. In comparison, Buffalo sits in sixth at 45.5 percent.
Philadelphia has been extremely successful in their three road games when their opponent is sent to the box, going 5-for-8 (62.5 percent).
3. Cloutier Plays Former Team
Drafted by Philadelphia with the second overall pick in 2018, Cloutier was expected to be a cornerstone for the expansion franchise for years to come. Instead, the Wings traded him to Buffalo after playing just seven games, where he has developed into a key piece of the Bandits offense.
This season, he is fourth on the team in points (35) and third in assists (22).
Cloutier isn’t playing into the narrative of wanting revenge and is treating Saturday just like any other game.
“My feelings are just on our team and moving forward in this season, one game at a time,” he said.