After getting blown out in their first home game of the season, 22-14 to the Rochester Knighthawks, the Philadelphia Wings have shown that they are a team to reckon with in the Eastern Conference. They earned their second win of the season with a 13-10 victory over the Buffalo Bandits on Friday night. The loss was the Bandits first of the season.
The Bandits and Wings traded the lead back and forth for much of the game. Buffalo came out in the first with two power play goals from John Tavares and Chad Culp and two more goals from Roger Vyse and Luke Wiles and finished the quarter with a 4-3 lead. The Wings came back in the second quarter to score four of their own, two from Brendan Mundorf and one each from Drew Westervelt and David Brock, to tie the game at 7-7 going into half time. The Wings outshot the Bandits 23-17 in the first half and goaltender Mike Thompson looked somewhat shaky to start, allowing three goals on the first six shots in the first quarter, while Brandon Miller made some nice saves, 16 overall, to keep the Wings close in the first half.
In the second half, the Bandits were able to pull away a little as Mike Thompson went on a 25:48 shutout streak. The Wings didn't score a goal from the 7:15 mark in the second quarter to the 2:59 mark of the fourth quarter when Pat Heim found the back of the net. During that streak, the Bandits were only able to get a two goal lead, with goals from Mark Steenhuis and Luke Wiles in the third quarter.
The Bandits had been automatic with a fourth quarter lead, winning their last 16 games after leading after three, but the Philadelphia Wings went on a six goal comeback led by Drew Westervelt who had two of those six goals. Dan Dawson, Brodie Merill, and Brendan Mundorf each had a goal in the quarter while Mark Steenhuis was the only Bandit to muster a goal in the fourth.
Brandon Miller finished out the second half making 13 saves on 16 shots and had a total of 29 saves in the winning effort for the Wings. For the Bandits, Mike Thompson had 30 saves overall on the night on the 42 shots he faced.
Bandits coach Darris Kilgour was more relaxed after this loss than we have seen in previous years. "Disappointed is a strong word, I'm disappointed that we couldn't go undefeated. I'd rather learn the lessons that we learned tonight than the last game of the season when it costs us our season," said coach Kilgour after the game. Kilgour also mentioned a few times in his postgame conference about how the team didn't finish the opportunities they had. "We had two five minute powerplays there and we didn't take advantage of that. We had our chances, we should have gone up three or four goals in the first half and it might have been a different game but we will never know because we didn't capitalize on our opportunities."
On the opposite side, Wings coach Johnny Mouradian was happy with the result and with the way that this team has grown. "Last week we were up by a couple of goals, they came back and we won in overtime. Now, we're down and we came back and won it. So, all these situations are really important for us as we grow and develop our identity."
The Bandits travel to Minnesota to take on the Minnesota Swarm in the second game of their back to back weekend while the Philadelphia Wings have the rest of the weekend off. They face off against the Toronto Rock on Saturday February 4th.