After walking away from the Rexall Place with a crushing 14-5 defeat at the hands of the undefeated Edmonton Rush on Friday, the Buffalo Bandits had little time for reflection as playoff possibilities were the focus of their matchup today against the Minnesota Swarm.
The Buffalo Bandits were unable to bounce back from the loss to the Rush on Friday as they tie the season series at 1-1 in their three 2014 regular season matchups with the Minnesota Swarm.
The Swarm (3-9) scored the game winning goal in overtime to come away with the 10-9 victory over the Bandits (8-4).
Callum Crawford’s second goal of the game at 7:51 in overtime gave the Swarm their first home win this season in front of 6,081 at the Xcel Energy Center.
Crawford ended the game with four points (2G, 2A) and earned first star honors from the media.
Bandits leading scorer and former Minnesota Swarm member Ryan Benesch tried his best to keep the Bandits in the game and led all runners this evening with five points (1G, 5A).
Earning second star honors for today’s game was the spirited play of Bandits goaltender Anthony Cosmo. Cosmo was kept extremely busy trying to keep the Swarm away from the scoreboard. Cosmo had 49 saves on 59 shots with a GAA of .894 and a save percentage of .831%.
Earning third star honors and the win in net today was Swarm goaltender Tyler Carlson. Carlson as well put in a valiant effort against the Bandits recording 34 saves on 43 shots with a GAA of 8.04 and a save percentage of .791%.
The Bandits and Swarm battled back and forth and utilized their defensive strengths to dictate the pace for the first quarter. While the Swarm was looking to generate some forced turnovers, the Bandits were strategizing an effort to diminish high quality shots in the zone. Even though the shot totals were nine for the Bandits and twelve for the Swarm at the end of the first, neither Bandits goaltender Anthony Cosmo or Swarm goaltender Tyler Carlson gave up an inch to either team as the score was 0-0 at the end of the first quarter. This was the first scoreless first quarter in the National Lacrosse League’s history.
Western New York native Joe Resetarits got the Bandits on the scoreboard early in the second quarter at 3:21 with a laser of a shot past Carlson. Less than two minutes later the Swarm answered back with a goal of their own from their team leader in assists Callum Crawford. The momentum would swing slowly in favor of the Bandits as they went on a 2-0 run with goals from Jamie Rooney and Resetarits’s second of the day. Not allowing the Bandits to go into halftime with a two goal lead, the Swarm would answer back with a two goal run of their own from their team leader in goals Logan Schuss and Jordan MacIntosh. With that 2-0 run the Swarm were able to even the score all up at 3-3 heading into halftime.
Just like the opening of the second quarter, it was Resetarits again who opened the scoring for the Bandits in the beginning of the third quarter with the hat-trick just 44 seconds in. Former Swarm forward Ryan Benesch was able to exact a little bit of revenge against his former team when he was able to sniper a top shelf shot past Carlson two minutes later.
With the Bandits ahead on the scoreboard 5-3 mid way through the third quarter, the Swarm kicked it into second gear and began to really turn up the heat on the Bandits. The Swarm went on a three goal run with a goal coming on a bounce shot from Alex Crepinsek and two goals from Shayne Jackson. Jackson’s second goal came on the power play when Shuss’ shot was saved by Cosmo and the rebound went to Cosmo’s left side where Jackson was left uncovered to score.
The Bandits responded on a power play of their own when Aaron Wilson went short side over Carlson’s left shoulder to tie the game up at 6-6 with four minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Bandits and the Swarm exchanged goals of their own to end the third quarter all tied up at 7-7. The Swarm received their seventh goal and second of the game from Schuss off of a rebound from Cosmo while the Bandits received their seventh goal from Jamie Rooney. Rooney’s goal came with just 36 seconds left in the quarter when he was leveled to the ground but not before he was able to get off a five hole shot past Carlson.
With playoff implications on the line, it was time for the Bandits to kick it up a notch in the fourth quarter. The Bandits poured it on with a 2-0 run with Wilson’s second goal of the day at 7:52 and Shawn Williams first goal of the day at 8:25.
The Swarm were not about to let the game slip away when they responded with a two goal run of their own. The first goal came from Greg Downing and the second came from Scott Jones who blistered off a shot past Cosmo to tie the game up at 9-9 with four minutes remaining in regulation.
Both teams battled back and forth with neither team giving up an inch the rest of the way through regulation play and the game was tied all up at 9-9 heading into overtime.
The Swarm’s Callum Crawford was able to put the final nail in the Bandits playoff chances today when he dropped the incoming pass from Shayne Jackson, recovered it and spun his way past Cosmo for the game winner in overtime.
Buffalo’s next game will be next Saturday March 29th on the road at the Langley Events Centre in their only matchup this season with the Vancouver Stealth.