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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Stay in your seats

     February 18, 1996 -- Next time you are thinking of leaving a game early, you might want to have second thoughts. After all, you never know when a great comeback might take place.

     The Buffalo Blizzard taught that lesson on this day in Memorial Auditorium. They were trailing, 17-15, to the Wichita Wings. They had blown a 10-point lead, giving up six straight goals. Many of the 6,031 were headed to the exits in the final seconds.

     Then with only six seconds left, Andrew Crawford of the Blizzard dashed up the field in an attempt to get a goal. He was fouled to give his team a free kick at the spot of the foul. Crawford was 55 feet away from the goal with one second left.

     Paul Dougherty was assigned to take the kick. He unleashed a "banana ball," that soared over the wall of men, beat leaping Wichita goalkeeper Kris Peat, and went in just under the crossbar for the game-winning three-pointer.

      "I made it swerve," Dougherty explained. "I've hit some like that, but that was one of the best."

     Those who hung around were sure glad they did.

--- Budd Bailey

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