Buffalo, NY – Tyler Digby and Joe Resetarits each scored two goals but it was not enough as the New England Black Wolves fell to the Buffalo Bandits 12-6 on Saturday evening at Keybank Center.
Reilly O’Connor had five assists in the loss for New England (8-9) while Callum Crawford added a goal and two assists and Stephan Leblanc had three assists. The two teams will face each other in the first round of the NLL Playoffs in two weeks, as Buffalo secured the No. 1 seed with tonight’s win and a loss by the Georgia Swarm.
The Bandits (13-4) took an early 1-0 lead when Dhane Smith found the back of the net just 30 seconds into the game. Digby tied it up just two minutes later but Buffalo took back the lead with 11:35 to go on a goal by Josh Byrne. Just 58 seconds later Crawford scored on the power play to tie it up at 2-2 with 10:38 to go in the first. Buffalo picked up two quick goals, one from Thomas Hoggarth and one from Chase Fraser, to take a 4-2 lead with 8:54 to go. The Bandits increased their lead with 4:12 to play before Resetarits found the back of the net for New England to cut the lead back down to two, 5-3, with 3:16 left. Resetarits scored again with 1:34 remaining to make it a one-goal game.
Buffalo opened up the scoring again to start the second when Nick Weiss scored just 1:13 into the frame. Chris Cloutier scored with 9:03 to play to give the Bandits a 7-4 lead before Digby picked up his second of the night to make it 7-5 with 7:10 remaining. However, Small scored his second just 48 seconds later to put the Bandits lead back at three, 8-5.
Davey Emala got the scoring started for the Black Wolves just 25 seconds into the third to cut the lead to 8-6 before Cloutier picked up his second of the night with 11:54 to go to make it a three goal game again. That’s how the third ended. Buffalo opened the scoring in the fourth just 31 seconds into the frame on a goal by Small, his third of the night, and another 15 seconds later by Ethan O’Connor to take a 11-6 lead with 14:12 to play. The Bandits wrapped up the win with an empty net goal with 1:13 left to make it 12-6.
Smith had one goal and four assists to lead the Bandits while Small added three goals and an assist and Byrne had a goal and three helpers. In goal, Doug Jamieson had 45 saves in the loss for New England while Matt Vinc had 38 saves in the victory for Buffalo.
The Black Wolves will wrap up the regular season on Saturday, April 27 when they travel to Rochester to take on the Knighthawks. Game time is set for 8 p.m.