The Buffalo Bandits, coming off two straight blowout losses, got back on track Saturday with a 13-8 victory against the Calgary Roughnecks.
Buffalo never trailed in the game, benefitting from outstanding play from goalie Alex Buque. The Buffalo starter, pulled in the first quarter of the previous two games, had a much-needed bounceback performance. He made 44 saves on 52 shots.
Callum Crawford recorded four goals and an assist for the Bandits, while Dhane Smith had three goals and two assists. Jordan Durston, acquired in a trade in the offseason, recorded his first hat trick as a Bandit.
Great start: Transition player Kevin Brownell scored on the Bandits first shot of the game, finishing on a straight-on shot in transition. It was Brownell's first goal of the season.
Red flags flying: Bandits coach Troy Cordingley challenged two Calgary goals in the first quarter, getting a favorable result once. Roughnecks defenseman Dan McRae's goal 3o seconds into the game stood, but Wes Berg's goal to tie the game at three was overturned after it was ruled he fell in the crease before the ball found the net.
Calgary had a successful challenge of its own, overturning a Dhane Smith goal that would have made it 4-2 Bandits with a bit under five minutes left in the first.
Bandits debut: Defenseman Ethan Schott, the second of Buffalo's two second-round picks in the 2017 draft, played the first NLL game of his career. Forward Pat Saunders, who had two goals and four assists in Buffalo's first three games, was the healthy scratch.
Schott's best moment of the night came with a minute remaining in the first, as he set up a Justin Martin breakaway with a smart transition pass. Martin, a second-round pick in last year's draft, beat Scrigliano for his first career NLL goal.
Making a killing: Buffalo survived a five-minute illegal body check call on Crawford with four minutes and 37 seconds left in the second quarter, only allowing one goal and scoring once while down a man. Jordan Durston scored the shorthanded tally, as he was given plenty of space in front of the net. He was able to wait until Calgary goalie Frank Scigliano overcommitted and fired the ball into the empty net.
Up Next: The Bandits play a second straight home game next Saturday, as they'll host the Vancouver Stealth at the KeyBank Center. Vancouver has had similar offensive issues as the Roughnecks this season. The Stealth scored 29 goals through the first three games, with stars Rhys Duch and Corey Small combining for two goals on the year.