Thursday, January 17, 2008

Buffalo vs. New York

Its the Bandits and the Titans on Saturday at the HSBC Arena. The Bandits had two faces agains the Knighthawks this weekend, looking beleaguered at the start of Friday's game to being outscore that same team 6-1 in the fourth to win Saturday's game. The defense of the Bandits looked very shaky with the transitional approach so the philosophy of strict offense and defense played much better against the tough defense of the Knighthawks.

Tavares and Steenhuis lead the team with 11 points and Roger Vise's 4 goals on Saturday leads the team in goals. The offense looks good but still needs some firepower with the loss of Greenhalgh and Bucktooth. Vise and Dostie have looked good scoring 7 goals between the two of them (4 and 3), but these two really do need to keep the consistency from these two games. The defense looks solid under the leadership of Richie Kilgour and if this team is going to meet Rochester again in the East finals, need to keep that up. Thompson looked shaky in his first start on Friday but most of those chances that Rochester scored on weren't his fault but more breakaways and open chances the defense gave up. Al Montour stepped in and looked fairly good playing cleanup role. Thompson looked much better on Saturday so his confidence should not be much of a problem.

Onto New York. The Titans looked good in their only game against the Lumberjax winning 14-11. Their offense led by Casey Powell and Pat Maddalena looked alright, but defense and goaltending were the main issues that plagued this team last year. The Titans helped shore up their defense with 2007 1st pick Jordan Hall. The goaltending is led by Matt Vinc who let in 11 in his only appearance this season. So, as of now, the Titans look to be a contending team but it is still early. I think the Bandits take this one pretty handedly 19-10.

John Tavares still needs 4 goals to take the all-time goals lead, and if this game gets out of hand quickly I think that Saturday is the night it happens. It would be good to see him do it at home. There is one more note. It seems that Pat Merill may be suspended for this game depending on if he appeals or not. Merill is being suspended for one game due to a "dangerous" hit in the Portland game. It is subject to appeal and its not known yet whether he will appeal or not.

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