Photo Courtesy Bandits.com
The Buffalo Bandits were riding high heading into last weekend's back to back games against the Philadelphia Wings and Minnesota Swarm. They were undefeated on the season and beat two of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. They came out of the weekend a broken and beaten bunch after losing both games on the weekend. Friday night saw the Bandits give up six goals in the fourth quarter as the Wings defeated the Bandits 13-10. The next night, the Minnesota Swarm just manhandled the Bandits as they jumped out to an early lead and took control of the game with a 19-11 victory.
The Bandits are now 2-2 on the season, a half game back of the conference leading Wings, and they are facing a Washington Stealth team that is looking to right their ship after losing the first three games of the season. The Stealth are coming off a championship game loss last season and have started the season relatively flat. In the last game for the Stealth, they were thoroughly embarrassed on their home floor by the Edmonton Rush to the tune of 16-5.
The Bandits are looking to put last weekend's games behind them and assistant coach Derek Graham reiterated that during the coaches' conference call this week. "If we can just take the one shift at a time approach, then I think we can do a little better than we did on Saturday night."
It will be a reunion of sorts for Bandits forward Luke Wiles. Wiles has adapted well to the Bandits roster as he is second on the team in goals with nine and points with 16. Wiles was apart of the Stealth franchise last season and was acquired in an off-season trade. He is on pace this season to eclipse his career best 33 goals this season and has become the best off-season acquisition for the Bandits this year.
Washington is looking to do many of the same things that the Bandits are. The team does have some experience winning on the First Niagara floor as they defeated the Bandits last season in overtime after Rhys Duch tied the game with nine seconds left to go and Cam Sedgewick scored the game winner just five minutes into the overtime session.
Assistant coach Art Webster is looking for his team to get inside more and be more aggressive to try and earn their first win:
"When we play Buffalo this weekend, if we stay to the outside, we will be in the same predicament as last week," he said.
Game time is 7:30 pm at the First Niagara Center.