By: Cam Moyer
DULUTH, Ga. — The Buffalo Bandits used nine second quarter goals, eight of which were unanswered, to break in front of the Swarm and never look back Sunday afternoon at Infinite Energy Arena.
The Bandits (4-2) scored early and often as they defeated Georgia (3-4) 21-14 to move themselves up into a first place tie with New England.
Dhane Smith led the offense for Buffalo, putting up five goals and eight assists. Ryan Benesch added three goals and six assists of his own to help carry the offense for the Bandits.
Davide DiRuscio stopped 30 of Georgia’s 44 shots on goal to earn the win.
While Georgia is known for its flashy style of offense, the Bandits showed that keeping the game simple can still be a viable tactic to win games. They used excellent ball movement all game, finding the open man for the easy goal rather than trying to dodge their way to the goal individually.
That doesn’t mean the Swarm weren’t able to provide some highlights for their home crowd, however. Captain Jordan MacIntosh scored on this wonderful individual effort to bring the crowd to life.
MacIntosh finished with two goals and three assists on the day. Johnny Powless led all Swarm players with four goals and three assists.
Georgia’s attack never really could find the rhythm they needed to break down Buffalo’s stout defense. Myles Thompson was held to only one goal, while his brother Lyle had two assists to go along with his tally.
Still, as the Thompsons go, so goes the Swarm. They need more than a combined four points if the Swarm are going to have any hope of winning. It was a good job defensively by Buffalo realizing this and doing everything they could to keep the Thompsons off the score sheet as much as possible.
The Swarm travel to Buffalo for a rematch Saturday Feb. 20. They’ll look to find that offensive rhythm that eluded them in this contest, while the Bandits will be looking for more of the same.