The Buffalo Bandits (5-7) dropped their fourth straight game on Saturday night to the streaking Edmonton Rush (7-5). The Bandits have also lost their last five at home. They were outscored 9-4 in the first half.
“In this league, when you can’t catch or pass, you’re in trouble, and we were in trouble in the first minute,” Bandits head coach Darris Kilgour said. “We didn’t play very well in every aspect of the game.”
It was Buffalo’s Dhane Smith who opened the scoring, firing a shot from the left side past Aaron Bold to give his team a 1-0 lead. The Rush, however, would go on to score four unanswered goals in a span of four and a half minutes, including a hat trick from Corey Small.
“I thought we played a pretty completely game,” Rush head coach Derrick Keenan said. “We managed to get some space and make our shots when we needed to.”
Mike Hominuck was able to stop the run with a goal two minutes after Small’s last goal to make it 4-2. The Rush would take over on offense once more, scoring twice more to close out the first quarter and once again to open the second.
Alex Kedoh Hill, who was acquired from Rochester at the trade deadline, scored his first goal as a Buffalo Bandit after Zack Greer put the Rush up 7-2.
“I thought he was awesome. Played great. Best player on the floor for us,” Kilgour said of Hill’s debut. Hill scored two more goals over the course of the game to earn a hat trick.
“It was good, it was exciting. I grew up watching the Bandits, and I always dreamt about playing here,” Hill said. “I just try to stay focused on what I have to do in the game. Mistakes are going to be made. I try not to dwell on it and keep my energy up.”
The Rush added two more goals in the second, as Greer scored his second of the game, and Mark Matthews buried his only goal of the game. Matthews also added two assists in the game.
Dhane Smith added another goal to close out the second quarter and the Rush lead 9-4 going into half time.
The Bandits looked poised for a comeback. After a Rush goal early in the third quarter, Aaron Wilson scored, and Hill followed up with a goal to cut the Rush lead to 10-6. It was another four-goal run, however, that sealed the deal for the Rush. Hill added his hat trick goal late to get to the 14-7 final score.
“We were watching a lot of the game,” Kligour said. “You can’t be watching. If you’re not playing, you’re hurting us. Getting outworked at home is getting real old.”
The Bandits fell to a 5-7 record and are now 3.5 games back of first place in the division They will next travel to Toronto to take on the league-leading Rock on Friday. They won their last meeting at the Air Canada Centre, 15-13.