Recovery a tall task for Bandits
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • April 06, 2012 @ 1:57pm
To demonstrate how much parity exists in the NLL, just take a look at Philadelphia, the Buffalo Bandits’ opponent at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the First Niagara Center. Johnny Mouradian’s Wings are perched at 7-5 overall—good enough for a secure playoff berth and within striking distance of clinching the East title—yet have conceded more goals (153) than they’ve scored (143). Does this mean the Wings are vulnerable against a desperate Bandits squad?
Buffalo (4-8, last place in East) certainly is struggling, but there’s animosity against Saturday’s opposing city, as Philadelphia’s own Flyers ousted the Sabres Thursday to mathematically eliminate them from the playoffs.
The Wings have owned the season series thus far with two victories: a 13-10 road win Jan. 27 and a 14-13 nail-biter at home just over two weeks later. Philadelphia’s offense may be even more stacked than Toronto’s—and bear in mind that the Rock crushed Buffalo 15-9 last weekend.
Forward Dan Dawson, acquired from Boston in the NLL’s dispersal draft, paces the league with 68 assists. The 6’5 maestro has been the catalyst for 16 of the Wings’ 27 goals against Buffalo this year, and he’s supported by snipers Kevin Crowley, Drew Westervelt, Brendan Mundorf and, most recently, Mike Hominuck.
Brodie Merrill is one of the NLL’s fiercest transition players, while Brandon Miller protects the net and newcomer Chris Schiller adds toughness and experience out the back door. After a narrow 16-15 overtime loss to co-league leaders Colorado two weeks ago, Philadelphia looks competitive against the West’s top offerings and poised for a playoff run.
Injured NLL star Casey Powell will join his brother Mike and play-by-play man Brent Stover in the broadcast booth for the NLL’s first game to air on CBS Sports Network. For most television viewers in Buffalo, the game will be televised on channels 130 and 776 (HD) for Time Warner Cable users and channel 613 for DirecTV subscribers. The network will also show one divisional semifinal game, both division championship games and the NLL Championship later in the season.
Buffalo will don pink lettering and numbers on special edition jerseys to be worn Saturday to raise money for unnamed cancer research initiatives. The unis will be auctioned off on Bandits.com from April 9 to 15. Check out the press release for more details.
Tickets for the Buffalo vs. Philadelphia game are available for purchase.