Buffalo, NY – The New England Black Wolves rattled off five consecutive goals, including four in a span of 7:13 in the fourth quarter, but it was not enough as Buffalo Bandits came out on top, 12-10, on Saturday night at the First Niagara Center.
Kyle Buchanan notched a hat trick for New England (3-2), including two during the final run, while Pat Saunders and Kevin Crowley each had two goals for the Black Wolves.
Sheldon Burns got the scoring started for New England just 2:05 into play on a shorthanded goal. Buffalo (3-2) followed that up with two consecutive shorthanded goals and one on the power play to take a 3-1 lead with 6:20 left in the first. With 5:12 remaining in the first, Kevin Buchanan put the Black Wolves back within one, 3-2, on his 100th career NLL goal.
The Bandits would score twice more to close out the first quarter, and two more again to start the second, prompting New England to switch goalies. Tye Belanger entered the game 3:04 into the second and remained between the pipes for the Black Wolves for the rest of the game. Buffalo scored once more but a goal from Kyle Buchanan closed out the scoring in the first half to put New England down 8-3.
The Black Wolves opened the third with goals from Saunders and Shawn Evans to cut the score to 8-5, but Buffalo answered just 26 seconds later and added two more in the following 10 minutes to go up 11-5. However, Crowley found the back of the net with 10 seconds remaining as New England closed out the third down 11-6.
Saunders picked up his second goal of the game 5:47 into the fourth quarter and Kyle Buchanan followed that up with a goal of his own 1:30 later to cut the Buffalo advantage to three, 11-8, with 7:37 left to play. He secured a hat trick three minutes later. Crowley added his second of the night with 1:30 remaining in play to cut the Buffalo advantage to one, 11-10, but an empty net goal in the closing seconds secured a two goal victory for the Bandits.
Kyle Buchanan finished the game with four points (three goals, one assist) while Evans had six points (one goal, five assists) and Crowley had five (two goals, three assists) Dhane Smith led Buffalo with six points (three goals, three assists). In net, Evan Kirk had 20 saves while giving up seven goals in 17:26 for New England and Belanger had 24 saves while allowing four goals in 42:33. Davide DiRuscio had 43 saves for Buffalo.
The Black Wolves will be in action next on Sunday, February 14th when they host the Toronto Rock at Mohegan Sun Arena. Game time is set for 3 p.m.