Bandits fans have gotten used to their favorite lacrosse team taking control of close contests in the fourth quarter and pulling out wins. So it must have been a shock to them to see a 10-8 Buffalo lead turn into a 13-11 Philadelphia Wings victory on Friday night. The game spoiled the Bandits' undefeated record.
A couple of penalties proved particularly crucial. With Phil Sanderson already in the penalty box, Chris White spotted a Wings player alone in front of the crease and had little choice but to check him from behind. That set up a five-on-three power play for Philadelphia for 1 minutes, 34 seconds. Mat Giles scored 14 seconds after White's penalty to cut the lead to 10-9, and Giles struck again a little more than a minute later on a five-on-four power play. You can bet coach Darris Kilgour isn't going to be too happy about all of this.
A few other notes:
* Ian Llord and Roger Vyse were out of the lineup for Buffalo. There was no immediate word on their status. Buffalo also was missing Delby Powless, who missed the first game in a two-game suspension for violating team rules. Billy Dee Smith returned to action after missing two games with an ankle injury, but that's still a good-sized amount of missing talent.
* Philadelphia's Athan Iannucci, the most valuable player in the National Lacrosse League in 2008, did not make his 2009 debut Friday night. He is still recovering from knee surgery, but is on the active roster and could be considered "week-to-week."
* It was an interesting week for Jake Bergey, a longtime member of the Wings. Bergey was taken by Boston in the expansion draft but didn't play there. Instead, he was traded back to Philadelphia this week so he could retire as a Wing. If Bergey changes his mind and comes out of retirement, the Wings will owe the Blazers a draft choice.
* Late Friday night, Calgary remained the only undefeated team in the league (5-0) with a convincing win over a tough Minnesota team. It sure looks as if the Roughnecks will be the class of the West this season.
* It was a tough night for a while to try and follow the game on the NLL.com Web site. Some technical problems left the television picture quite choppy in the first half, although it did improve quite a bit in the second half. Game statistics also couldn't be accessed on the league's site. My thanks go out to an alert reader who pointed me in the direction of pointstreak.com for a box score.
* The Bandits probably can't complain too much about winning two out of three on the road in this stretch. Now it's back home to face the Toronto Rock on Feb. 14 in HSBC Arena. We'll see if it's a happy Valentine's Day for Buffalo.
--- Budd Bailey