With only one game on the schedule for this week, all eyes in the lacrosse world will be focused on Langley, British Columbia as the Buffalo Bandits (1-1) will face off against the Vancouver Stealth (1-1).
The Bandits return to action after being off last week. Buffalo played their first two games of the season opening weekend splitting both games. Friday January 2nd they fell 12-8 to the New England Black Wolves then rebounded and defeated the Edmonton Rush by a score of 9-8.
For Vancouver, they opened up with a huge upset and defeated the Calgary Roughecks 18-14, and then last week Toronto put a 20-11 hurting on them last week in the Stealth’s home opener.
For Buffalo, you must look at Ryan Benesch (6G/3A), Mark Steenhuis and Dhane Smith (3G/5A) each to lead the way. John Tavares (1G/1A) has only played in the season opener, but as we all know, JT can explode at any given time. Opponents are 8-18 on the power play against Buffalo. But the one problem is that Buffalo has spent 53 of the first 120 game minutes with a player in the box. This is one reason they have only scored 17 goals total this season. Buffalo is also eighth in the league on the power play converting 27.27%. The Stealth are last in the league at killing penalties, this is an area that Buffalo can take advantage. Anthony Cosmo comes in with a 9.50 GAA
For the Stealth, Rhys Duch(7G/7A), Tyler Digby (5G/4A) and Ilija Gajic (4G/5A) have scored 16 of the teams 29 goals this season. Lewis Ratcliff (2G/6A) and the newest addition Johnny Powless (1G/5A) can pour it on as well. Bandits are well aware of Powless and what he can do. The Stealth defense is going to have to come up big as they have allowed 34 goals so far this season. In the final 45 minutes last week theStealth were outscored 18-7. They will also need to stay out of the penalty box as their penalty kill is the worse in the league. They are 7/12 on the man advantage, but also have allowed 2 short handed goals.
Both teams are in action next week. Buffalo travels to Toronto for a Friday night game, while Vancouver travels to Denver to face the Mammoth on Saturday night.