By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade.
That might not be the best phrase when a snowstorm arrives in Western New York, but you get the idea.
Missing Saturday night’s game featuring the Buffalo Bandits and Philadelphia Wings seemed liked a prudent decision after hearing the weather forecast. Based on that information, it seemed as if I could make it downtown for the game, but getting back home might be a problem.
So with no desire to buy myself a hotel room downtown for the night, I opted to make the best of a bad situation. stayed home and acted like a fan – or at least an interested observer. I saw the Bandits win their third straight, taking charge down the stretch to take a 14-10 decision.
Let’s talk about the broadcast first. I paid $2.99 to see the game on line. It’s the first time I’ve watched Buffalo play a home game on television since Adelphia Cable used to do the home games. I did watch some road games when I worked at The Buffalo News in order to get something in the newspaper the next morning.
Besides, I was curious about the broadcast. B/L Live is hosting the games this year, the latest in a string of carriers in recent times. I’m happy to report that the production is of professional quality, featuring good camera work and replays. I did have some problems with buffering and dropping out, but that may be more due to my internet connection than the broadcast feed. Some of the commercial spots were repeated far too much, which is annoying but tolerable.
Announcers John Gurtler and Randy Mearns have a good on-air relationship, and – unlike some other teams’ feeds – worry more about the game than trying to sell tickets to future home games. Everyone should be that smart.
Good start, good finish
As for the game, the Bandits picked up right where they left off early in the game. Buffalo had only allowed four goals in its last game, blanked the Wings in the first period to take a 4-0 lead. The Bandits extended that margin to 7-1 with eight minutes gone in the second period, and it looked like a comfortable night.
Philadelphia brought on ex-Bandit goalie Dave DiRuscio on in relief, and this change actually paid some dividends. For the next period and a half, the Wings crawled back into the game. Kevin Crowley and Kiel Matisz did most of the work during that time. Matisz finished with four goals while Crowley had three. With nine minutes left in the four quarter, the teams were tied at 10-10.
Then the Buffalo forwards, who had been pretty quiet for most of the night, went to work. Shawn Evans scored a highlight-video goal to give the Bandits the lead for good. Dhane Smith, Evans and Thomas Hoggarth followed in the next four minutes, and Buffalo improved its record to 4-1.
You’re on your own for postgame quotes.
Matt Vinc now owns the National Lacrosse League record for minutes by a goaltender. He needed three minutes on Saturday to go by Anthony Cosmo’s record. A reminder – Cosmo is Vinc’s current goalie coach. … Buffalo finished with a 65-59 edge in shots. Vinc stopped 49 of 59 shots, a percentage of .831. … Wings won the faceoff battle, 20-8. … Josh Byrne missed part of the game with an injury. … Dhane Smith finished with two goals and three assists, while Corey Small had three goals and three assists. … Bandits play two games on the road next week. They are in Rochester on Saturday and New England on Sunday.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB. He’s usually at the game he covers.)