Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bandits/Wings Preview

The Buffalo Bandits head into Philly on Saturday night to take on the red hot Philadelphia Wings. This Philadelphia Wing team looks to be extremely dangerous this season because they have a lot of firepower coming from a bunch of sources led by Athan Iannucci. He has 10 goals in 2 games and 14 points total. He has a supporting cast of Jake Bergey (8-5-13), Merrick Thompson (7-5-12), and former Bandit Jason Crosbie (1-8-9). This team really is looking to be the team to stop in the Eastern Conference after they knocked off the Knighthawks 15-14 last week. They had 13-7 lead going into the 4th on the high powered Knighthawks and still held on to win the game. This team looks dangerous in the Wachovia Center and that is where the Bandits are headed.

Coming off his historical night last Saturday, John Tavares looks to keep this team on the winning track. He (6-11) and Mark Steenhuis (8-9) lead the team with 17 points a piece. While the scoring of these two isn't the major concern, its which players would step into the supporting cast after the injuries to Sean Greenhalgh and Brett Bucktooth. Kevin Dostie has stepped into that role quite nicely. He has 6 goals on the season, including his hat trick against New York last week. Roger Vise and Delby Powless have also contributed but they tend to be a little streaky with all of Vise 4 goals this season coming in the second game against the Knighthawks.

The main question mark of this game is going to be the goaltending of Mike Thompson. While he looked extremely shaky in the first game against the Knighthawks, he settled down in the second game. Against the Titans, he let in 13 goals on 46 shots, many of those coming while the Bandits were on the penalty kill. The play of Thompson is going to ultimately determine the outcome of this game. The Wings have a lot more weapons than the Titans did and whether or not Thompson can handle those is whether or not the Bandits can pull out a win. The other issue with this Bandit team is the penalties. They ended up taking 67 penalty minutes against the Titans including 5 major penalties. This put the Titans on the power play 15 times. If the Bandits have any chance of winning they have to keep out of the penalty box because the Wings can be dangerous going 12 for 27 in their two games.

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