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Bandits can’t catch Halifax

Call it rust, but the Buffalo Bandits were soundly defeated at home by Halifax, 15-10, in their first action in three weeks Saturday night at the KeyBank Center.

Buffalo (1-1) was held scoreless in the second quarter while the Thunderbirds (3-0) went on a 9-0 run and made it 13-4.

Cody Jamieson and Ryan Benesch each had a hat trick for Halifax. Benesch led the team with six points with an additional three assists.

Josh Byrne had three goals for Buffalo, two of which came in the final five minutes of play.

Matt Vinc had a rocky night against his old Rochester teammates. The veteran goalie made 27 saves on 40 Thunderbirds shots and was replaced at one point by Doug Buchan, who made eight saves on 10 shots.

While Buffalo got off to a good start and a 2-0 lead thanks to Byrne and Dhane Smith, Halifax quickly made it 4-2 over the next four minutes of play.

The Bandits knotted the game at four apiece thanks to Ian McKay and Nick Weiss, but the normally hot Buffalo offense went cold after that.

Two consecutive goals from Matt Burke and two consecutive scores from Benesch highlighted a nine-goal scoring spree for the visitors.

A big factor that fueled that run was untimely penalties from Buffalo. Three Halifax goals came on the power play, and the Bandits often faced a 5-on-3 scenario.

Chris Cloutier finally ended Buffalo’s scoring drought nine minutes into the third quarter, making it 13-5.

Austin Shanks gave Halifax another goal, but the Bandits’ offense finally came to life in the fourth quarter, outscoring the visitors 5-1 in the final period.

It was too little, too late, however, and Buffalo dropped to .500 in the early season.

In the end, the Bandits were outshot 50-49. They did capitalize on 4-of-5 power plays while the Thunderbirds only scored on 3-of-7 man-advantage opportunities.

The faceoff was again a problem for Buffalo. The Bandits only won 7-of-29 faceoffs in the win after winning just 9-of-27 against San Diego on Dec. 7.

Buffalo will be back in action on Jan. 11 as the Bandits travel to Georgia for a game with the Swarm.

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