By Alex Pagliano -- Bandits.com
The Buffalo Bandits have struggled to stay out of the penalty box as of late. After Colorado converted on five-of-seven power play opportunities last weekend, the Bandits struggled again on the road Friday night.
The Edmonton Rush converted on six-of-nine power play opportunities to capture their team-record eleventh consecutive victory, defeating the Buffalo Bandits 14-5. Cory Conway led the Rush with eight points (1+7).
"We were very undisciplined tonight," Bandits head coach Troy Cordingley said. "We had done a real good job of (staying disciplined) this year. We just were not good enough tonight."
In defeat, Bandits captain John Tavares contributed a team-high three points (1+2). Ryan Benesch (0+2) and Steve Priolo (1+1) each added two points.
The (8-3) Bandits led 3-2 after the opening quarter. Robert Church opened the scoring for (11-0) Edmonton at 3:50, but Buffalo responded. Aaron Wilson beat Edmonton goaltender Aaron Bold with a low, far-corner shot at 4:51. Just one minute later, Steve Priolo entered the Edmonton zone shorthanded. Priolo fended off two Edmonton defenders and beat Bold for his seventh goal of the season. After Edmonton evened the score, Joe Resetarits closed out the quarter scoring at 9:29. Resetarits converted a no-look pass from Tavares from just outside of the crease to regain the lead. The assist marked the 46-year-old legend's 1,700th career point.
"I thought we were real good in the first quarter," Cordingley said. "We stuck to our game plan and then after that, we stopped cutting through plays. We were watching and hoping for things to happen when we usually make things happen."
Edmonton outscored Buffalo 7-1 over the duration of the second quarter. Three of Edmonton's seven second quarter goals came on the power play. Chad Culp scored the lone goal of the quarter for Buffalo at 3:15. Tavares found an open Culp, who beat Bold five-hole from the right of the goaltender. The Rush held the Bandits to just five shots over the duration of the second quarter. Over the duration of the 5-0 Edmonton run to end the half, the Bandits mustered just two shots on goal.
The top-ranked Rush defense held Buffalo scoreless over the duration of the third quarter. Ryan Benesch generated the best chance of the quarter on the power play at 4:07, but Bold turned the shot on the doorstep aside. The Bandits failed to convert on three of their four power play chances over the duration of the game. Zack Greer added another unanswered Edmonton goal at 12:27 to close out the quarter scoring.
Greer completed the natural hat trick just under four minutes into the fourth quarter. After opening the quarter scoring, Greer converted for Edmonton's fifth power play goal of the night at 3:35.
Tavares ended the Edmonton 8-0 run at 7:08. Tavares beat Bold short-side on the power play to end the 34:07 scoreless drought that doomed the team.
"Their defense is really athletic, and they do a nice job of pressuring the ball," Cordingley said. "They do a nice job."
Entering Sunday, Tavares needs just two goals to reach 800 for his career.
Edmonton scored two late goals to conclude the contest. Rush rookie Adrian Sorichetti completed his first career hat trick at 8:27 while Conway added the sixth and final Edmonton power play goal at 12:45.
Despite the defeat, the Bandits can clinch a postseason berth with a victory over Minnesota on Sunday at 2 p.m.
"It didn't work out tonight," Cordingley added. "We cannot dwell on it. We just have to focus on Minnesota now and be much better on Sunday."