February 27, 2010

Wings Top Bandits, Snap Five-Game Skid

By Jonathan McGrath | NLL.com

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Drew Westervelt scored four goals, and Mat Giles chipped in with three goals to go along with three assists to lead the Philadelphia Wings (2-6) over the Buffalo Bandits (2-6), 15-11, at HSBC Arena Saturday night. The win snapped a five-game losing skid for Philadelphia.

Wings head coach Dave Huntley was happy about the win and did not think it was redemption for their home loss against Buffalo two weeks ago.

"When you're 1-6, you don't need any extra motivation. It doesn't matter if it is in their house, or my house... We'll take a win any way we can" said Huntley.

After going down 5-0 early in the first meeting between these two teams two weeks ago, the Bandits inserted rookie goaltender Angus Goodleaf. There were questions during the week in regards to who would be the teams starting goalie but Goodleaf got the nod in net. The Buffalo goaltender would have his work cut out for him to start the game, as Philadelphia won outshot Buffalo 14-8 in the first quarter.

The Bandits started two men short less than a minute into the quarter, which the Wings capitalized on to take a 1-0 lead. However, about a minute later the Bandits would fire right back with a goal of their own as John Tavares, who finished the game with four goals and an assist, made a strong take to the net to tie the game.

Philadelphia's Josh Sims would make up for an early holding penalty that resulted in a Bandits goal by scooping up a loose ball and firing one past Buffalo's rookie goaltender to take back the lead, making the game 2-1.

The Wings didn't wait long to get to work in the second quarter, putting in two quick goals. Forward Matt Giles scored 12 seconds into the period and Drew Westervelt added to the Wings lead only 7 seconds later to take a 6-2 lead less than a minute into the period.

Buffalo's Goodleaf would attempt to redeem himself by making a big breakaway save, which resulted in a Tavares goal on the other end. However, The Wings kept the pressure on and scored shortly after on a goal by Giles that was set up by a cross-court pass by David Mitchell. Buffalo Forward John Taveres did his best to keep the Bandits deficit to a minimum, and scored his third goal of the game to make the game 7-4.

Buffalo scored again midway through the quarter to cut the deficit to two goals. The game remained physical as both teams received offsetting "checking from behind" penalties with about 5 minutes left in the quarter. Shortly after, Bandits Defensemen Billy Dee Smith would get past the defense to score a breakaway goal and cut the Wings lead to one goal; making the score 7-6 going into halftime.

The Wings started the second half on the power play as Buffalo Defensemen Ian Llord received a high sticking penalty less than a minute into the quarter. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Drew Westervelt scored his second goal of the game to make the game 9-6. The Bandits then answered as Tom Montour scooped up a loose ball and scored at a tough angle. However, Philadelphia would come right back, and Geoff Snider took the ball to the net and scored as he was falling over to take back the three-goal lead.

Late into the third, the teams would exchange goals as Philadelphia's Mike Ward and Buffalo's Roger Vyse would score their first goals of the night making the score 11-8. With less than 5 seconds left in the quarter, the Wings' Bill McGlone made a strong take to the right side of the net and scored. The Bandits coaching staff chose to have the play reviewed but to no avail and the team was left with a 4-goal deficit going into the final quarter.

The Wings maintained their fast paced scoring trend and put one in less than 30 seconds into the 4th quarter, but it was called off for a player being in the crease. Shortly after, the bandits again cut their deficit as John Tavares ripped a shot over the goalies left shoulder. Tavares did his best throughout the game to keep his team's deficit to a minimum, but it was not enough as the final score ended in a 15-11 Philadelphia win.

Bandits coach Darris Kilgour believed there was no specific area to blame for the loss: "Offense, defense, goaltending, you name it," he said.

"I think this is about as low as Buffalo's ever been," said Bandits Forward Kevin Dostie.

Buffalo will attempt to get back in the win as the host Orlando (4-2), and Philadelphia will try to keep its momentum going in Calgary (4-3). Both contests will take place on Saturday night at 7:30 pm ET and 9:30 pm ET.

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