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Bandits win fifth straight, stop Swarm

The Buffalo Bandits had their hands full with the Georgia Swarm for three quarters on Saturday night. Then they picked up their play and earned their fifth straight win.

The Bandits outscored the Swarm, 9-4, in the fourth quarter to take a 18-14 win in Infinite Energy Arena in Duluth, Ga. Buffalo moved to 9-4 on the season.

Buffalo trailed, 10-9, after three quarters. Dhane Smith tallied only 51 seconds into the fourth quarter. That sparked a run of five straight goals by the Bandits, and it broke the game open. Ryan Benesch, Anthony Malcom, Smith and Chad Culp had the other goals in the outburst.

Until the Bandits grabbed control, this was a generally even game. Neither side led by more than two goals through the first 50 minutes of play.

Smith, the league’s leading scorer, had only one goal and no assists at halftime. He turned up the offense in the second half, finishing with five goals and two assists for seven points. Smith improved his goal total on the season to 53. That is the second-biggest one-season total in Bandits’ history. He trails only Ryan Benesch’s 55-goal season last year.

In this game, Smith had to take a back seat to Benesch in terms of production. The Buffalo forward finished with three goals and six assists for nine points. Culp finished with five points and Mark Steenhuis had four. Buffalo’s power play went 5 for 5 while Georgia’s was 2 for 6.

Shayne Jackson had four goals to lead the Swarm, while teammate Randy Staats had two goals and five assists.

Anthony Cosmo picked up another win in the Bandits’ goal. He stopped 45 of 59 shots.

Meanwhile, New England lost to Colorado, so the Bandits improved their lead in the National Lacrosse League’s East Division to a game and a half.

The Bandits return home next Saturday night to face the Rochester Knighthawks.