The Buffalo Bandits found themselves on the ropes against the New York Riptide for the second time this season, losing their final meeting 15-12 Saturday night at KeyBank Center.
The Riptide cruised to a dominant 9-1 lead midway through the second quarter, the largest deficit the Bandits have faced all season long. The Bandits did not give up in the second half, outscoring New York 9-5, but the comeback was too late as they dropped their second-straight game – and first home game of the year.
In their last meeting back on January 30, Buffalo forced overtime with three late goals and won in the golden goal situation. New York got their revenge Saturday, improving to 5-10 on the season.
With the loss, Buffalo was unable on clinch home field advantage for the playoffs.
With eight assists on the day, Dhane Smith set the NLL single-season record for assists. The Bandits forward assisted on seven of the Bandits’ first eight goals, passing Mark Matthew’s 84 helpers set back in the 2018 season.
Smith leads the league in points with 126 and needs just 12 more over the final two games to break the league’s single-season points record. Smith set that mark in 2016.
Josh Byrne (3+1) collected his fifth-straight multi-goal game en route to scoring his 100th career goal. Chase Fraser netted three goals to continue his hot streak with 15 goals in his last four games.
Connor Fields (1+5), Chris Cloutier (1+2), Tehoka Nanticoke (1+1), Kyle Buchanan (1+0), and Ian MacKay (1+0) all scored for Buffalo.
Matt Vinc was pulled in the first half after just 23:45 minutes of action for Doug Buchan but returned to the game for the start of the second half. Vinc stopped 37 of 51 shots in the loss.
Rookie Jeff Teat led the way for the Riptide, netting his first career sock trick along with four assists for 10 points. In just 13 games this season, Teat has amassed 84 points (31+53). He ranks first in goals, assists, and points among first-year players.
New York was without veteran Callum Crawford, but saw production by committee in his absence. Connor Kearnan (2+1), Kiernan McArdle (1+3), Larson Sundown (1+3), and Dan Lomas (2+1) all chipped in for the Riptide.
Rookie goaltender Steven Orleman picked up his fifth win making 43 saves and a .781 save percentage in comparison to a 39 save .684 stat line in their first meeting against the Bandits.
Fraser was the lone Bandit to score in the first half, as six different Riptide players found the back of the net. Scott Dominey started the scoring for New York just 1:51 into the contest, along with Tyler Digby, Kearnan, Lomas, McArdle, and Teat.
New York made it seven-straight goals to increase their lead to eight with seven minutes remaining in the first half before MacKay got a much-needed goal to halt the Riptide run. Cloutier and Teat exchanged goals to make it a 10-3 game heading into the break.
As the horn sounded, Teat (who already had a hat trick and two assists) waved goodbye to Bandits captain Steve Priolo on his way to the locker room. The two needed to be separated, which served as a preview for the physicality that would be prevalent down the stretch.
Sundown and Lomas made the Bandits pay on the power play in the third as New York increased their late back to eight with 15 minutes left to play. The Bandits went on a 7-2 run for the rest of the game with timely goals coming off the sticks of Nanticoke and Fraser, cutting the lead to six.
Byrne and Teat both scored twice in the final frame as Buffalo mounted a comeback late in the quarter. Fraser netted a shorthanded goal from distance to make it a 15-12 game with 3:19 remaining.
New York drew penalties on Sam La Roue, Bryce Sweeting, Priolo, Smith, and Nanticoke to ensure their victory on the road in Banditland.
Buffalo committed 11 penalties in the second half and had five players jammed into the box at the end of regulation for a multitude of offenses.
The Bandits next travel to Georgia for their second matchup with the Swarm on Saturday, April 16. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m.