Jimmy Glenn and Mauro Biello, two former Buffalo Blizzard forwards known for their speed, hustle and scoring touch, came back to haunt their old team Sunday.
Glenn scored four goals and Biello notched a goal and an assist to lead the Toronto ThunderHawks to a 12-9 victory over the Blizzard before an Autograph Day crowd of 4,350 in HSBC Arena.
Glenn's breakaway goal opened the scoring at 4:44 of the first period and Toronto (14-9) never trailed afterward. All four of his goals -- one in each quarter -- came on fast breaks that created mismatches in front of Buffalo goalkeeper Bryan Finnerty.
"I like Sunday games in Buffalo," Glenn said, recalling a hat trick he posted for the Blizzard in a 1998 Sunday matinee, as part of coach Carlos Salguero's squad.
This was Glenn's most productive game since he returned to the National Professional Soccer League after a two-year absence. The 28-year-old makes his home in Rochester, where he plays for the Raging Rhinos in the summertime.
"I was coming off a knee injury last year and I wanted to get back into the game and play," Glenn said. "I had my agent call Buffalo and I had him call Toronto. Those were the only two teams I was thinking of. Buffalo never called back and, obviously, Toronto showed an interest. You go where you're wanted, right?"
The loss snapped a season-high three-game win streak for Buffalo (10-14) and -- combined with the Cleveland Crunch's 18-10 trouncing of Philadelphia -- parked the Blizzard a game and a half behind Cleveland (11-12) in the struggle for the final playoff berth in the American Conference. Buffalo plays at Cleveland Tuesday in a 10:30 a.m. Kids Day clash.
Toronto's win followed a 5-2 triumph in Philadelphia Saturday and capped a perfect weekend for the National Conference-leading team coached by former Blizzard mentor Gary Hindley. The T-Hawks also gained some revenge for their 15-11 loss in Buffalo on Jan. 27.
"Last time we were here we were playing a third game in three nights; we had traveled all night, playing with four hours of sleep," Glenn said. "I think the odds were a little better this time."
Five Buffalo players -- Doug Miller, Steve Butcher, Carlos Zavala, Matt Little and Chris Handsor -- scored a goal each, but the Blizzard could not close the gap to less than one point. The Blizzard held a 46-32 shooting edge, but, as coach Paul Kitson asked, "How many of them were quality shots?
"Their percentages on the chances that we gave them by far were definitely higher than the ones that they gave us," he said.
Buffalo blew several scoring chances in the first quarter, including a four-on-one break and a three-on-two rush.
"We had some chances early on and we couldn't capitalize," Blizzard captain Danny Barber said. "(Toronto goalkeeper Ted Zagar) got stronger as the game went on and we kept shooting it at him. It's heartbreaking because we felt we were the better team today. We've been finding ways to win and today we let ourselves down."
Glenn's first two goals gave Toronto a 4-0 lead before Miller's shootout and Butcher's diving header made it 4-3.
Biello tapped in a goal off a scramble to make it 6-3 early in the third period. Zavala's restart goal got two points back, but then Biello -- who played two Blizzard seasons (1995-97) for coaches Jim May and Hindley -- fed Nevio Pizzolitto for a power-play score at 12:11 of the third.
Glenn's fourth goal, with 3:22 left in regulation, made it 12-7 and prompted Kitson to pull his keeper. The sixth-attacker squad produced Handsor's two-point goal that made it 12-9 with 49 seconds left. Buffalo had a free kick with 15 seconds remaining, but Jim Hesch's three-point try failed.
"It just kind of wasn't our day," Hesch said. "We were getting all the chances we were getting in previous games, but we just couldn't find the back of the net. The chances were there, the other day (in a 23-17 win over Baltimore Friday) they went in, today they didn't."