NLL: Bandits improve record to 9-1 with OT win over FireWolves

Buffalo Bandits @ Albany FireWolves. (Photo credit: Albany FireWolves/NLL)

In a case of déjà vu, the Albany FireWolves fell again to their in-state rival Buffalo Bandits for the second time in a month. The Bandits beat the FireWolves 12-11 in a back-and-forth Empire State battle that went to OT. Both teams were trading goals all night. There wasn’t a lead larger than two goals during the game.

The game’s opening goal came from a whipping Chris Cloutier shot assisted by Dhane Smith. FireWolves answered less than a minute later, which sparked a three-goal streak for the home team. Bandits followed it up by going on a 3-1 run to keep the game tied headed into the second quarter.

The second quarter was almost as eventful as the first, as seven goals were scored in an “everything you can do, I can do better” fashion. Interestingly, the last four goals of the second quarter were all scored during a powerplay, including one from Josh Byrne who found the back of the net while the Buffalo was shorthanded. In the first half, there was an average of one goal every two minutes.

In the third quarter, there was not a lot to note as there were only two goals. Joe Resetartis did account for one of the two goals, which gave him yet another hat-trick on the season. Headed into the final 15 minutes, the Bandits led 9-8.

The fourth quarter was a grind as both teams were desperately looking to take the victory. Charlie Kitchen scored in the first three minutes to tie up the game. In the eighth minute, Dhane Smith scored a powerplay goal which gave him a hattrick and a lead for his team. Ryan Benesch answered in the ninth minute on a ripping down low shot to tie the game yet again.

In the 11th minute, Connor Fields scored from distance to put Buffalo up 11-10 with less than four minutes remaining. With less than two minutes to go, Jacob Ruest alley-ooped the ball to Joe Resetarits who scored on a diving shot to tie it up for Albany and eventually send the game to OT.

Just 22 seconds into overtime, Chase Fraser ripped a shot that bounced off the pipe which Kyle Buchanan snagged and then snuck the ball past Doug Jamieson to give the Bandits the win.

The three stars of the night were Dhane Smith, Joe Resetarits, and Ryan Benesch. All three of the guys got a hattrick on the night and are in the top five of points in he NLL. Resetarits leads the league with 72 points, Smith is right behind with 70 points, and Ryan Benesch sits fourth with 62 points.

Albany’s offensive production ran heavily through Resetarits or Benesch. Albany scored 11 goals on the night, eight of the goals came from those two players. Kitchen also had a good game recording two goals and an assist.

The FireWolves will look to get their season back on track when they travel to the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax to face off against the Thunderbirds.

The Bandits will look to keep their lead in the East standings when they host the Philadelphia Wings at the KeyBank Center.