BUFFALO BANDITS STEAL WIN IN PHILADELPHIA WINGS HOME OPENER
The Philadelphia Wings lost 12-11 in overtime on a sudden death shot by Buffalo’s John Tavares, during their season home opener and second matchup this season against the Bandits.
The home opener saw Buffalo claim an early lead with a goal from Forward Shawn Williams, who led the Bandits in scoring during 2013. Philadelphia struck back and led at the end of the first quarter 3-2. The second quarter was all Buffalo as the Bandits went on a five goal scoring run to lead 8-4 as the teams left for the locker rooms at halftime. Philadelphia possessed one lead in the first half.
“This year we have seemed to drop off a bit in the second quarter,” said Head Coach Blane Harrison. “In order to win, we can’t continue to play from behind going into the second half.”
Buffalo continued their offensive attack into the third quarter. The Bandits extended their scoring run to six unanswered goals. Philadelphia capitalized on a pair of Buffalo penalties late in the third and cut the Bandits’ lead to three. Philadelphia trailed 10-7 entering the final frame.
The fourth quarter sparked excitement within the arena when Philadelphia and Buffalo began to exchange a flurry of goals. The Wings ultimately tied the game 11-11 with three minutes left in regulation. The Wings saw their first taste of overtime in 2014 where Buffalo secured the win with a sudden death goal from Bandits’ Forward John Tavares to play spoiler in Philadelphia.
“Our late game comeback was due to returning to the basics,” explained Harrison. “We need to keep things simple and run our plays. Whenever we see success, it only makes sense to continue to do what led to that success.”
Ryan Ward, Kyle Buchanan, Tracey Kelusky, Jordan Hall and Kevin Crowley managed the offense for the Wings. Jointly, the five contributed 22 of the team’s total points on the evening. Ward tallied four goals in his first game back in Philadelphia, previously being drafted by the Wings in 2004.
The Bandits were led by veterans Dhane Smith and John Tavares. Both registered hat-tricks for Buffalo. Smith finished the night with nine points (three goals, six assists) and Tavares with seven points (five goals, two assists).
The Philadelphia Wings are in action next against Minnesota for a home-and-home series Saturday, January 18 at the Wells Fargo Center at 12 p.m. and Sunday, January 19 against the Swarm at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN at 3 p.m.