2/7/2019 1:00:00 PM / Nick Konotopskyj
After starting the season 6-2, the Buffalo Bandits will look to pick up another win when they face the Georgia Swarm on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. at Infinite Energy Center. This is a rare occasion in the 2018-19 season where the Bandits will face an opponent that is ahead of them in the standings.
Right now, the Toronto Rock and Georgia Swarm are tied for the lead in the Eastern Division with records of 6-1 and 7-2, respectively. Buffalo is only a half-game behind both of them so this road game could loom large as they approach the back half of the schedule. The Swarm are 4-0 at home, presenting a true road challenge for the Bandits.
The Bandits have won four of their last five games, but they are only 1-1 on the road over that stretch.
Both teams are coming off victories last Saturday. Georgia defeated the Rochester Knighthawks 16-12 while Buffalo defeated the Colorado Mammoth 15-12.
The Bandits were led by Dhane Smith who had 8 points (3+5) while Jordan Durston (1+3) and Corey Small (0+4) each had 4 points. It was a very balanced offensive attack for the Bandits as they had eight players who contributed with at least two points in the game.
Matt Vinc has another solid game in net for the Bandits as he stopped 43 shots.
On the season, Buffalo is led by Shawn Evans who has 51 points (15+36). Dhane Smith missed two games earlier in the season, but he is still second on the team in scoring with 42 points (12+30). After that, the Bandits have gotten major contributions from Corey Small and Thomas Hoggarth.
Hoggarth has taken the biggest jump out of any player. Coming into this season, his highest point total in a season was seven points in 2016 with Vancouver. This season, Hoggarth already has 18 goals and 30 points.
Along with Hoggarth, second-year player Chase Fraser has taken a huge step forward for the Bandits. Fraser recorded 14 points in nine games in his rookie season, and in eight games so far this year, Fraser has 17 points (12+5). Ian MacKay, who was selected fourth in the 2018 NLL Draft, has 13 points (6+7) for the Bandits.
On Wednesday, the Bandits acquired forward Chris Cloutier from the Philadelphia Wings. Cloutier was selected second overall by Philadelphia in this year’s draft and through seven games, he has recorded 24 points (7+17).
Georgia is led by Randy Staats, who has 56 points (18+38) and Lyle Thompson, who has posted 54 points (27+27). Holden Cattoni has 44 points (16+28) and Shayne Jackson has 32 points (12+20) for the Swarm.
Fans can watch the game with a subscription to B/R Live or listen in on WGR 550 and WGWE 105.9 FM in Salamanca.