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The Buffalo Bandits will open their first season in the new National Lacrosse League on Jan. 3 as they host the Philadelphia Wings in the first of seven home games at Marine Midland Arena.

Six of Buffalo's 1998 home games, including the opener, will be played on Saturday nights. The seven-game road schedule also includes Saturday games within driving distance in Rochester, Syracuse and Hamilton, Ont., home of the Ontario Raiders.

Syracuse and Ontario have joined Buffalo and four other members of the old Major Indoor Lacrosse League in forming the new league, which finishes its regular schedule on April 11.

All Bandits home games are at 8 p.m. The schedule:

January: Sat. 3, Philadelphia; Sat. 10, at Boston, 8:30 p.m.; Sat. 17, New York; Fri. 23, at Baltimore, 8 p.m.; Sat. 24, Boston; Sat. 31, at Rochester 8 p.m.

February: Sat. 7, at Philadelphia, 8 p.m.; Fri. 20, Rochester; Sat. 21 at Ontario (Hamilton), 8 p.m.; Sat. 28, at New York, 8 p.m.

March: Sat. 7, Baltimore; Sat. 14, Syracuse

April: Sat. 4, at Syracuse, 7:30 p.m.; Sat. 11, Ontario.

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