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Buffalo Bandits score 12 straight to down New England on the road

The Buffalo Bandits snapped their four-game losing streak Friday, using a 12-goal run in the second half to down the New England Black Wolves, 20-7, at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Buffalo (7-7) moved into a tie for first place in the East Division with New England (6-6) and the Toronto Rock (6-6).

Dhane Smith led the Bandits with two goals and seven assists. Vaughn Harris scored four goals and four assists while also besting Jay Thorimbert at the faceoff-X. Harris won 20 of his 29 draws. Mitch Jones scored six times.

The 20 goals is a new season high for the Bandits, who previously scored 18 on two occasions. Buffalo hadn’t surpassed 10 goals in the last four games.

The matchup was the first between Buffalo and New England since the teams completed a blockbuster trade that sent forward Shawn Evans to Buffalo and forward Callum Crawford to New England.

Evans notched a goal and five assists Friday, while Crawford had a goal and two assists.

Buffalo started to take control in the latter half of the first quarter, ending the frame on a three-goal run to take a 5-2 lead. Two of those goals came in the final minute of the first, including a Jones shot that barely trickled past New England goalie Aaron Bold with 17 seconds on the clock.

Bandits goalie Alex Buque shut out New England in the second quarter, while Jones and Vaughn Harris scored on the offensive end to give Buffalo a 7-2 lead at the break. Harris’ goal came with four seconds remaining, as Mitch de Snoo sent him on a breakaway with an outlet pass.

The Bandits could have led by more if not for a pair of challenges working against them in the second. Goals by Harris and Thomas Hoggarth were both negated due to crease violations.

New England opened the second half with two straight goals, but Buffalo dominated the rest of the way. Buque went 22 minutes without allowing a goal as the Bandits stretched the lead to as large as 15.

The Bandits and Black Wolves will play for a second straight time next Saturday at KeyBank Center. That game, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m., will end the teams’ three-game season series.

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