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Nova Scotia

Byrne, Vinc Lead Bandits To Victory Over Thunderbirds

December 30, 2022 – National Lacrosse League (NLL) – Buffalo Bandits press release

The Buffalo Bandits celebrated their first home win of the 2022-23 season on Friday, defeating the Halifax Thunderbirds 18-13 at the KeyBank Center.

The Bandits are now 2-1 in the season and have won two games in a row.

Though pleased with a win, Bandits players expressed their condolences after a tragic week that saw a snowstorm devastate western New York.

“It’s been a tough 72 hours here. It was very sad and heartbreaking for me to see it all on the news,” said striker Josh Byrne. “It’s a long road when you see this city coming together. I am very proud to call Buffalo home.”

The bandits held a minute’s silence before the game to honor the more than two dozen people who lost their lives in the blizzard.

“Condolences to the families who have lost people. It’s definitely more than just a game for us. We wanted to win for Buffalo,” said assistant captain Dhane Smith. “I can’t thank the fans enough for showing up.”

We mourn with all of WNY for those who lost their lives during the devastating snowstorm that ravaged our community.

Thank you to the first responders, good neighbors, local businesses and everyone who helped with the recovery. Your generosity and courage are Buffalo’s best example.

After a tight start to the game and an 8-8 draw at half time, the Bandits opened the gates in the second half. They never looked back and ran away with the game from that point on.

Matt Vinc excelled at the net, making 65 saves from 78 shots.

On offense, Byrne led the way for Buffalo, scoring a total of seven goals on an 11-point night. Dhane Smith (3+7), Tehoka Nanticoke (2+2) and Kyle Buchanan (1+4) also made big contributions.

The Thunderbirds would do their best to keep up with the efforts of Captain Cody Jamieson (3+2), Randy Staats (3+5) and Clarke Petterson (2+4), but it wouldn’t be enough. Warren Hill and Drew Hutchison split the effort between the whistles for Halifax with 28 and 14 saves, respectively.

The Thunderbirds took the lead twice in the first quarter, but Byrne responded with his own goals to make it 2-2 after 15.

There were 12 goals in total in the second quarter, but neither team led by more than two goals at any point.

After Halifax opened the second with two goals, Byrne completed his hat-trick with 8:34 in the quarter. He would end up with five goals in the first half.

Nanticoke and brothers Dylan and Brandon Robinson also contributed goals for Buffalo in the second. Dylan Robinson’s record was the first of his career.

In the last minute of the second quarter, Halifax twice met goals from Staats and Jamieson to level the game. The Thunderbirds had a 36-30 advantage on shots.

The Bandits started the second half with a 5-0 run. The barrage of goals began with three from Smith, Nanticoke and Buchanan in a 1:34 span. Ian MacKay and Byrne later added to the run, giving Buffalo a 13-8 lead.

The Thunderbirds had to make a goaltender change midway through the Bandits’ run. Drew Hutchison took the place of Warren Hill, who had conceded 12 goals on 28 shots.

Halifax responded with two goals to make it a three-goal game moving into the fourth quarter.

Byrne scored his seventh goal 50 seconds into the fourth quarter and the Bandits would edge Halifax 5-3 in the final frame. Buffalo finished the game on a 4-1 run, with Smith and Nick Weiss scoring goals, leaving 1:56 and 1:42 to seal the win.

Banditland was fired up at the end of the game, not only for all the goals but also for a fight that erupted after Austin Shanks counterchecked Max Adler with 1:29 to go.

The Buffalo Bandits will look to extend their winning streak to three games when they face Georgia Swarm on January 7th. The faceoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Gas South Arena in Duluth, Georgia.

Buffalo’s next home game is Jan. 14 when the Bandits and Swarm wrap up their home-and-home streak. Tickets are now available.

• Discuss this story on the National Lacrosse League message board…

The opinions expressed in this press release are those of the organization issuing it and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its employees.

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