NLL: Bandits round up the Seals

Josh Byrne. San Diego Seals vs Buffalo Bandits at KeyBank Center, December 7, 2019. (Photo by Bill Wippert)

The Buffalo Bandits wrangled a 13-10 win out of the San Diego Seals on Saturday night and Seals’ head coach Patrick Merrill believes it all came down to goaltending.

“We battled pretty hard for four quarters,” he said. “They had a really good performance out of their goaltender, Matt Vinc.”

The 13-10 Bandits’ victory could have easily been a Seals’ victory based on the back and forth play. They tied at four at halftime and were tied at 10 in the fourth. Buffalo managed to make a push and scored three times in the final 2:18 of the fourth to finalize the win. San Diego has yet to come away with a victory in Buffalo.

Bandits’ coach John Tavares seemed happy with his team’s contribution, saying postgame that “I don’t want a team where we’re relying on one or two guys.”

Buffalo seemed fired up as the 2019-2020 season began. As usual, the chirping and hard hitting people come to expect from Buffalo was present—much to the delight of the fans in Banditland.

Merrill seemed pleased with his new additions that were acquired in the off season. The team played like a group playing together for a while instead of a first game effort.
Wesley Berg contributed two goals and four assists in the game for San Diego including his 100th career goal, while Zach Greer contributed two goals and three assists. San Diego also went 3-6 on the powerplay.
For Buffalo, Dhane Smith had six points on the night. Chris Cloutier and Corey Small each scored three goals and a pair of assists. Josh Byrne’s airborne game-winning goal at 12:42 of the fourth was the play of the weekend, even getting picked up by SportsCenter.
San Diego next hosts Toronto on the 14th.  Buffalo is off until the 28th when they host Halifax for the first time.