The Saskatchewan Rush avenged an early-season home loss to the Buffalo Bandits, handling Buffalo in a 16-10 victory at KeyBank Center Friday.
Robert Church led the way for the first-place Rush, who move to 11-2 on the season. He had six goals and two assists. Ryan Keenan and Ben McIntosh each had five points.
Dhane Smith notched three goals and three assists for the Bandits, now 6-6.
Up and down: The Bandits' four-game win streak seems distant now, as Buffalo has now lost three straight to fall back to .500.
Old rival, new friend: Shawn Evans' Bandits debut two weeks ago didn't go according to plan. He made it to Colorado right before game time due to travel issues. To make matters worse, his equipment and stick were lost. He had to join a brand new team without getting a chance to practice with them and play with equipment he wasn't comfortable with.
It's no surprise he experienced some struggles. Evans shot a team-leading 10 times in an 8-7 loss to the Mammoth but failed to score. Six of his shots didn't get on cage.
With an off-week last week, Evans got an extended opportunity to learn the tendencies and intricacies of the Bandits offense. He looked better from the start, scoring his first goal as a Bandit a minute and a half into the game. The Peterborough, Ont. native broke through the defense and beat Saskatchewan Rush goalie Evan Kirk with a shot top corner. He added two more in the third.
The crowd response to Evans was just as interesting to follow as his play in his KeyBank Center debut. Fans on social media pulled no punches when his acquisition was announced. His agitating nature and years with Bandit rivals made him one of the most disliked players in Banditland for years. He received a mixed response when introduced before the game.
Setting fire: With one goal and two points Friday, Buffalo's Josh Byrne is now eight goals and five points away from setting franchise rookie records in both categories.
Bandits debut: Ryan Fournier, signed by the Bandits on March 7, made his debut with the team Friday. The rookie defenseman had previously played five games with the Vancouver Stealth, notching three goals and five points, before being released.
Fournier is wearing No. 81, the first Bandit to wear that digit since Roger Vyse. Defenseman Liam Patten was placed on the practice roster to make room for him.
All that power: Saskatchewan entered the game with the top powerplay unit in the National Lacrosse League, capitalizing on an impressive 75.9 percent of its opportunities. Buffalo did a good job limiting penalties. The Rush scored two powerplay goals on three chances.
Up Next: The Bandits play their second game of the weekend on Sunday at the Georgia Swarm. Faceoff is at 4:05 p.m. The Swarm, who lost 11-10 to the Rochester Knighthawks last Saturday, will be well rested since they do not have a second game this weekend.