Tavares flashes youthful form for Bandits - The Buffalo News

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Tavares flashes youthful form for Bandits

PHILADELPHIA — There’s still plenty of life left in the magical lacrosse stick of John Tavares.

The 45-year-old scored five goals, including one in overtime, to lead the Bandits to a 12-11 win over the Philadelphia Wings on Sunday afternoon.

Tavares, who is the National Lacrosse League’s all-time leader in all of the major scoring categories, took a shot from high in the slot through traffic. It beat goalie Evan Kirk and gave the Bandits their second win in a two-game weekend. Buffalo had defeated Toronto at home on Friday night.

Tavares added two assists to finish with a seven-point game. It was his first five-goal game since Feb. 12, 2011.

Dhane Smith was the other major offensive threat for the Bandits. The second-year player had three goals and six assists for nine points. Ryan Benesch had a goal and four assists.

The Bandits had made a large comeback in the win over Toronto, rallying from a 6-2 deficit late in the third period. This time Buffalo built up the big lead, scoring the final five goals of the first half to take an 8-4 lead into the intermission.

Benesch and Smith added goals early in the third quarter, and Buffalo’s 10-5 margin with five minutes left in the period seemed safe. But Philadelphia stormed back by scoring the next four goals. Ryan Ward tied the game with 4:01 left with his fourth goal of the afternoon.

Neither side scored the rest of regulation time and that sent the game to a fifth period. The Wings took possession first but didn’t get a shot on goal. Tavares scored on Buffalo’s first chance of overtime, with the assists going to Joe Resetarits and Benesch.

Goalie Anthony Cosmo had another strong game for the Bandits. He stopped 43 of 54 shots. Kirk wasn’t as busy for the Wings, making 31 saves on 43 shots.

For Philadelphia, ex-Bandit Tracey Kelusky had two goals and three assists, while Kevin Crowley finished with a goal and four assists.

The Bandits head to the West for their next game. They will play the Colorado Mammoth in Denver on Saturday night.

The next home game is Jan. 25 against Rochester.

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