Buffalo Cruises Through First Round Victory Over New England 5/4/19

Justin Ivey, Correspondent New England Black Wolves
Lacrosse is Awesome©

Featured Image Photo Credit: Bill Wippert

The top seed Buffalo Bandits hosted the fourth seed New England Black Wolves on Saturday night in front of almost 12,000 fans at the KeyBank Center for the ‘Winner Move On’ East Division semi-final.  Much like the two regular season matchups, the Bandits outplayed the Black Wolves from start to finish, never trailing in the game.  Using a quick three goal run to start the game, the Bandits never looked back as goalie Matt Vinc was superb.  New England’s lone star of the game was Callum Crawford, who collected a point on every New England goal.  The Bandits move on to the second round and will host the Toronto Rock who defeated the Georgia Swarm on Monday 5/6/19.  Final Score:  New England-6, Buffalo-13.

Buffalo came out hot.  Rookie Ian MacKay (1G) opened the scoring unassisted just 45 seconds in.  Feeding off the home crowd energy, Dhane Smith (2G, 5A) scored 31 seconds later and Shawn Evans (3G, 1A) scored from outside 1:15 after that.  The three goals for the Bandits to open the game came on their first three shots.  No one could ask for a better start. Scoring cooled off for a little after that, but the defense became much more physical as the game quickly got chippy.  In what would become a theme of the game, five penalties were served in the first quarter.  New England found their first goal on one of those power plays.  Callum Crawford (4G, 2A) was finally able to get a ball past six-time goaltender of the year Matt Vinc with 5:44 remaining in the quarter.  With under two minutes to play, Buffalo got the lead back to three with a goal from Chase Fraser (1G).  At the end of the first quarter, Buffalo led New England 4-1.

New England started the second quarter with momentum, but nothing was coming easily.  Tyler Digby (1G, 1A) scored 3:57 in, picking the glove side top corner of  Vinc’s net from outside.  Just over a minute later, Crawford scored his second of the night in transition with a ridiculous individual effort.  He caught the clear pass from Jackson Nishimura (1A) and spun to the middle deking Vinc out of position before finishing.  Buffalo’s Chris Cloutier (1G, 3A) ended the two-goal New England run with 7:15 remaining to get the lead back to two.  Following that goal, the penalties started.  In the latter half of the second quarter, six penalties were assessed, two to Buffalo and four for New England.  The late New England penalties allowed Buffalo to go on a run of their own.  Both Smith and Evans scored their second goals on the power play in the last five minutes of the half.  Black Wolves’ goaltender Doug Jamieson made 14 saves in the second quarter but couldn’t stop all the power play opportunities.  At halftime, Buffalo led New England 7-3.

Penalties continued to be the story coming out of halftime.  Eight were assessed in the third.  Buffalo had the first power play opportunity and Corey Small (2G, 2A) found the back of the net 6:48 in.  Almost five minutes passed before the next goal.  Reilly O’Connor (1G, 1A) caught a cross turf pass from Crawford and used a quick stick to fire a bouncer in from outside.  New England was back within three.  With a power play opportunity late and a chance to get within two, they gave up a shorthanded goal to Buffalo captain Steve Priolo (2G).  The Black Wolves did score on the power play, Crawford’s third goal of the game.  At the end of the third quarter, Buffalo led New England 9-5.

The game was not out of reach for New England entering the third, but the offensive struggles continued.  Most of the credit for the trouble went to goalie Matt Vinc who was not allowing any easy shots in.  On an early power play opportunity, Evans increased the Buffalo lead to five goals.  Up a man again just a few minutes later, Small scored a power play goal, but not before Crawford scored his fourth of the game shorthanded.  New England just couldn’t break through for the rest of the game and gave up two empty netters.  Nick Weiss (1G, 1A) and Priolo both enjoyed the easy goals as New England tried to turn the tide with an extra attacker.  Final Score:  New England-6, Buffalo-13.

Up Next:

The Buffalo Bandits (1-0) will host the Toronto Rock (1-0) at home on Saturday May 11, game time 7:30 p.m. EST.

Justin Ivey, Correspondent New England Black Wolves
Lacrosse is Awesome©

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