The Buffalo Bandits earned a much-needed win on Sunday afternoon, and the winning margin came from a very unlikely source.
Defender Mitch de Snoo scored only his second goal of the season - in overtime no less - to give the Bandits a 16-15 win over the New England Black Wolves in Uncasville, Conn. The goal came at 25 seconds of the extra session, tied for the second-fastest such score by a Buffalo player in history. The only faster goal came on Feb. 20, 1993 when Kevin Alexander scored in 12 seconds to beat Baltimore.
The win ended a three-game losing streak by the Bandits. It also meant Buffalo avoided going 1-6 in its first seven games, which no Bandit team has ever done in history. The 1998 and 2010 Buffalo squads also were 2-5 after seven games.
Speaking of unlikely offensive sources, the Bandits’ offense received some help from a couple of rookies. Blaze Riorden scored his first two career NLL goals, with both coming in the final four minutes of regulation. Riorden was activated before the game. In addition, Tim Edwards had his first career goal. The former Canisius College standout made his NLL debut on Friday.
Dhane Smith led the Bandits with four goals. Mitch Jones had a goal and five assists, Brad Self and Mark Steenhuis had five points, and Craig England had two goals. Ryan Benesch left the game early because of concussion protocol after a hit to the head. Steenhuis passed Lewis Ratcliff to move into eighth place on the National Lacrosse League's all-time scoring list.
New England was led by Shawn Evans, who had six goals and six assists. Kevin Buchanan finished with two goals and seven assists, while Kevin Crowley had three goals and four assists.
Goalie Anthony Cosmo went the distance for the first time this season, finishing with 37 saves. Evan Kirk had 47 saves for New England.
The Bandits had another slow start, falling behind by a 4-1 score less than six minutes into the contest. But they only trailed, 6-4, at halftime, and had a big third quarter to take a 9-8 lead. The fourth quarter was a wild one, with a combined 13 goals scored by the two teams. No Bandits game has featured more than 13 goals in a period since at least 2007; all-time records are not kept in that category. Buchanan tallied with 1:10 left to send the game to overtime.
Buffalo’s next game will be Saturday night at the KeyBank Center against the Toronto Rock.