12/27/2018 9:00:00 AM / Nick Konotopskyj
Most of the lineup for the Buffalo Bandits will remain the same tonight against the Warriors. Dhane Smith remains on injured reserve and has been ruled out for tonight’s game. Dallas Bridle has officially been placed on the practice squad and Zach Herreweyers is now on the active roster.
The Buffalo Bandits enter Week 3 of the NLL season at 1-1 and will be back at KeyBank Center for another Friday night game, but this time against the Vancouver Warriors. Faceoff will be at 7:30 p.m. as the Warriors come to Buffalo for the only meeting of the season between these two teams.
Buffalo dropped their home opener last Friday to the Toronto Rock by a score of 17-12. Shawn Evans had seven points (1+6) for the Bandits and he currently leads the team through the first two games with 17 points. Thomas Hoggarth and Corey Small lead the team in goals with six each while Josh Byrne has 15 points (5+10).
After the loss to the Rock, Evans stressed the importance of having a short memory and getting back on track against Vancouver.
“This one hurts with it being the home opener, but we need to come out ready to go because it’s a long season,” Evans, who is in his second season with Buffalo, said. “We need to move on quickly and get ready for next week.”
Bandits forward Corey Small will play in his first game against his former team. Small, who was acquired in a trade over before the start of the season, played the last four years in Vancouver.
The big question heading into this third game of the season is the status of Bandits star forward Dhane Smith. Smith registered eight points in the Bandits’ season opener against the Philadelphia Wings, but sat out of the home opener due to nagging hamstring and ankle issues.
It’s currently unknown whether Smith will be in the lineup Friday night, but if Smith can’t go, it adds a little more pressure on the rest of the Bandits’ forwards to produce. Smith has led the team in scoring in each of the past three seasons.
“Dhane creates a lot just by being Dhane and being real athletic like that,” head coach Rich Kilgour said. “When he has the ball, our lefty defensemen are looking to help in case Dhane gets by someone. So that creates a lot of open space and without Dhane out there, [the Rock] were able to concentrate on everyone else a little more. Corey was getting time and space in the Philly game, but he was getting no space in this game.”
Vancouver also dropped to 1-1 on the season when they lost on Friday to the Calgary Roughnecks 14-8. The Warriors are led by Logan Schuss who has 12 points (4+8) and Mitch Jones (2+5).
This game is the second out of four straight home games for the Buffalo Bandits. After dropping the home opener to Toronto, Buffalo will be looking to get back in the win column for the second home game of the season.
“Buffalo has always been a tough place to play,” Kilgour said. “We’ve had a lot of success here so to start off like this is bad. The good news is we get to line up again on Friday. We’re going to have a good practice on Thursday, hopefully work out some of the kinks and be ready to go.”
The Bandits are currently first in the NLL in goals for (29) and they are fifth in goals per game (14.5). On the flip side, Vancouver has only registered 22 total goals in its first two contests.
Watch the game with a subscription to B/R Live or listen in on ESPN 1520 AM.