Buffalo, NY – Callum Crawford had six points on four goals and two assists but it was not enough as the New England Black Wolves fell to the Buffalo Bandits 13-6 on Saturday night in the East Division Semifinal at Keybank Center.
Tyler Digby and Reilly O’Connor each added a goal and an assist in the loss for New England. Stephan Leblanc added two assists while Greg Downing, David Brock, Ryan Fournier and Jackson Nishimura each had one helper. Doug Jamieson had 46 saves in his first career playoff start in net.
Buffalo took a quick 1-0 lead on a goal by Ian MacKay just 45 seconds into the game and Dhane Smith followed with another 31 seconds later to put the score at 2-0. The Bandits scored again with 12:29 to play to take a 3-0 lead on a goal by Shawn Evans. New England got on the board with 5:44 left in the quarter on a power play goal from Crawford to make it 3-1 but Chase Fraser found the back of the net with 1:24 to play to give the Bandits back a three-goal lead.
The Black Wolves struck first in the second quarter when Tyler Digby scored off a pass from Reilly O’Connor with 11:03 to play to cut the Buffalo lead in half, 4-2. Crawford picked up his second of the night 1:17 later to make it 4-3 with 9:46 to play in the half. The Bandits took back a two-goal lead with 7:15 to play on a goal by Chris Cloutier and a three goal advantage with 4:03 to go in the half on Smith’s second of the night to make it 6-3. Evans picked up his second of the night with 1:25 remaining to give the Bandits a 7-3 lead at halftime.
Buffalo picked up the first goal of the third quarter with 8:12 remaining when Corey Small found the back of the net on the power play to go up 8-3. New England cut the lead in half on a goal by Reilly O’Connor with 3:55 to go in the frame. However, the Bandits answered back when Steve Priolo scored a shorthanded goal with 1:37 remaining to put the score at 9-4 but Crawford picked up a hat trick 26 seconds later to make it 9-5 Buffalo with 1:11 to play in the third and that’s how the frame ended.
Evans scored his third of the night with 12:50 to play in the fourth to give Buffalo a 10-5 lead. Crawford cut into the Bandits’ lead with 10:08 remaining for his fourth goal of the night to make it 10-6. The Bandits answered just under a minute later with a power play goal from Small to make it 11-6 with 9:20 to play. Buffalo picked up two empty net goals in the last four minutes to secure the 13-6 victory for the Bandits.
Smith had a team-high seven points for the Bandits on two goals and five assists while Evans had an assist to go along with his three goals and Small had two goals and two assists for four points. Matt Vinc had 47 saves in the win for Buffalo.