The Buffalo Bandits acted as if they were happy to get away from the subzero temperatures of their hometown on Sunday afternoon.
The Bandits ran around like children at school recess, piling up 21 goals in recording a 21-14 win over the Georgia Swarm in Duluth, Ga. They hadn’t scored 21 goals in a game since 2012, when they defeated the Toronto Rock by that same 21-14 score. Buffalo hasn’t scored more than 21 goals in a game since 2009, when the Bandits broke that barrier in games with Rochester and Toronto.
Buffalo’s first road win of the season moved their record to 4-2. Georgia, hosting the Bandits for the first time since their offseason move from Minnesota, fell to 3-4.
The game was tied, 2-2, after 12 minutes of play. Then Mitch Wilde put Buffalo ahead for a goal. When the second period started, the Bandits’ offense moved into full flight. Buffalo rolled up nine goals in the quarter to Georgia’s three. The six-goal advantage is the second-largest such edge in a period by a Buffalo team in the past 11 seasons. The Bandits had a 9-2 quarter against Rochester in 2009.
Dhane Smith had a hat trick in the second quarter alone, and Ryan Benesch had two goals. The 12-5 lead would prove insurmountable. The Swarm got a couple of the goals back in the third quarter, but Buffalo scored six more times in the fourth period to complete the scoring. The teams combined to score nine goals in a little more than eight minutes at one point in the final quarter.
Smith had an enormous offensive output, scoring five goals and eight assists for 13 points. Benesch, just off the injured list, had three goals and six assists. Alex Kedoh Hill finished with four goals, and Daryl Veltman had a hat trick.
Johnny Powless led Georgia with four goals and three assists. The Swarm used both of their goalies, Brodie McDonald and Zack Higgins, but it didn’t help. Both of them gave up at least 10 goals in splitting the playing time almost evenly.
Dave DiRuscio once again was in the Buffalo goal, as Anthony Cosmo apparently was still bothered by a slight knee injury suffered less than two weeks ago.
The Bandits take on the Rock in Toronto on Friday night. Then they come back down the QEW for a game against the Swarm on Saturday night in First Niagara Center. It’s the first back-to-back set of their season.