The Buffalo Bandits opened up a five-goal advantage in the first quarter and were able to ride that cushion to a 17-12 win over the Wings on Thursday night at Wells Fargo Center. The setback put the Wings at 6-8 on the season headed into their next showdown Saturday night on Long Island against the New York Riptide.
The teams combined for five goals in the first 5:19, with the Wings staying with the Bandits on tallies from Blaze Riorden and Kyle Jackson to make it 3-2 at that point. But Buffalo went on a 4-0 run from there to take a 7-2 lead after the first quarter. Kevin Crowley started out the scoring in the second quarter, but Buffalo got the only other three goals in the frame and led 10-3 at halftime.
Alex Pace started off the second-half scoring to pull the Wings within six at 10-4, but another four-goal surge from the Bandits opened their lead to 14-4 late in the frame. A goal from Kiel Matisz with five seconds left in the third quarter started a final run where the Wings outscored the Bandits 8-3 over the rest of the game, but that wasn’t enough to close the gap.
Riorden had a hat trick and added an assist for a four-point game, while Crowley led the Wings in overall scoring with two goals and four assists. Jackson followed up his six-point Wings debut with a goal and four assists for five points. Matisz also had a five-point game with two goals and three assists for the Wings, who were without Matt Rambo and Ben McIntosh for the contest.
Buffalo was led by a seven-point game from Dhane Smith and a four-goal night from Chase Fraser. The Wings outshot the Bandits 55-45, but Matt Vinc allowed just seven goals on 35 shots faced before taking a rest in favor of former Wings goaltender Doug Buchan, who stopped five of 13 shots he faced.
Zach Higgins started and finished the game for the Wings, making 19 saves on 31 shots faced. In between, Angus Goodleaf played 21:20 and stopped nine of 14 shots faced.
The Wings are back in action on Saturday night at New York. Faceoff is at 8PM and the game will be televised on ESPNU.