3/7/2019 10:00:00 AM / Nick Konotopskyj
By Nick Konotopskyj
The Buffalo Bandits are coming off the bye week and getting set to play two games this weekend. Starting on Friday, they will visit the 2-8 Philadelphia Wings for their final matchup of the season.
Buffalo took the season opening matchup with Philadelphia, 17-15, and later earned a 14-10 win in the second meeting at KeyBank Center.
The Bandits were last seen in game action on Feb. 22, when they beat the Rochester Knighthawks16-9 in Rochester. Buffalo has now won eight of its last nine games and five in a row.
The Bandits are 9-2 on the season and in first place not just in the East Division, but the entire NLL. A win on Friday night, or on Saturday night against Georgia, will clinch a playoff spot for the Bandits. The Wings are an expansion team in their inaugural season, but they have played the Bandits tough in their two meetings this year.
This will be Chris Cloutier’s return to his former team. The Bandits rookie was drafted by the Wings this year, but was traded to Buffalo in February. He has seven points (3+4) in two games for the Bandits thus far.
Shawn Evans leads the Bandits with 69 points (23+46) while Dhane Smith has 66 points (16+50). Corey Small has 53 points (25+28) and Thomas Hoggarth has 39 (23+16).
The Bandits lead the NLL in goals (162), goals per game (14.7) and goal differential (plus-43).
Philadelphia comes into Saturday’s game with a 2-8 record and is also coming off a bye week. The Wings are led by Kiel Matisz with 48 points (16+32), Jordan Hall with 33 points (7+26), Kevin Crowley with 32 points (16+16), Blaze Riorden with 31 points (16+15), and Josh Currier with 31 points (17+14).
Opening faceoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Friday night from the Wells Fargo Center. The Bandits will return home Saturday for a game at 7:30 p.m. from KeyBank Center against the Georgia Swarm.