February 19, 2011 - 7:32 PM
7:27 p.m. -- It's another Saturday night in Buffalo, and the Bandits are back in action. They come into the game with a 4-2 record, and the opposition will be provided by the Philadelphia Wings ... again. This is the third meeting of the season already, and Buffalo has won the first two meetings. A third win would be a nice boost for the Bandits heading into the All-Star break. On the other hand, Philadelphia is 3-4 and in danger of falling out of the division race. We are likely to see a desperate team come out of the visiting locker room.
The scratches for the game are out. Travis Irving is having some concussion issues from last week's fight, so he'll sit. Darryl Gibson and Jay Thorimbert are all sitting up in the press box with me.
That means there is a new faces in action. Ben McCullough is up from the practice squad. He is a defender who was a second-round draft choice.
Angus Goodleaf is tonight's starting goalie. Coach Darris Kilgour said he wanted to give Mike Thompson a nice rest, and give Goodleaf a start at home.
7:43 p.m. -- John Tavares was given a framed Bandits jersey, number 700, to mark his milestone goal from last week. Nice touch by the team.
7:46 p.m. -- And speaking of milestones, Tavares just assisted on Brenden Thenhaus' goal. That is point number 1500 for his career. Time to order another jersey.
7:53 p.m. -- A disallowed Buffalo goal (crease violation) seems to have given the Wings some flight. They have scored twice to take a 2-1 lead with 8:10 left in the first quarter.
7:59 p.m. -- The Bandits offense has been just a touch off so far in this one. They haven't gotten a great many shots in good position, and that's contributed to the 2-1 deficit with 4:46 left in the quarter.
8:07 p.m. -- Steve Priolo went charging after a Philadelphia player, threw a few punches, and seems to have been excused for the evening. He picked up two for instigating, five for fighting and a game misconduct. It's a seven-minute power play for the Wings. There was some jawing between sides after the initial incident. Why do I have the feeling Brandon Francis will be dropping his gloves soon?
8:11 p.m. -- The Wings have a 3-1 lead after the first quarter, thanks to a power-play goal by Alex Turner. Not Buffalo's best quarter of the season, by any means.
8:15 p.m. -- By the way, the ice cream freezer is gone from the press box. Did Tom Golisano pick it up with his other possessions?
8:21 p.m. -- The Bandits have bounced back from the seven-minute penalty, and are still only down by 4-3. There's 9:46 left in the first half. Tom Montour had a big breakaway short-handed goal to keep Buffalo in the hunt. By the way, Athan Iannucci of the Wings chased Montour, who is pretty quick. Iannucci had a very bad knee injury a couple of seasons ago, but he showed pretty good wheels there.
8:31 p.m. -- We've had a flurry of penalties lately, leading to some power plays, but no scoring. Buffalo had a 5-on-3 PP for a short time but only had time for one good shot.
8:44 p.m. -- Buffalo had used a couple of power-play goals to get back to even at 5-5 at the half.
9:05 p.m. -- We're back for second half action. Angus Goodleaf had a good half in goal, with a couple of good saves.
9:11 p.m. -- It's been a back-and-forth game. Mark Steenhuis drove to the net and scored, but picked up a penalty for goaltender interference. Philadelphia came down on the power play and scored, so we're at 6-6 wwith 8:27 left in the third quarter.
9:19 p.m. -- It's another game misconduct for Buffalo, this time on Ben McCullough. This stuff has been costly tonight and at times throughout the season. The Wings have a 7-6 lead with 4:28 left in the third quarter.
9:28 p.m. -- We're done with three quarters, and this one still has to be decided. Philadelphia has an 8-7 lead in a game with little to no flow because of a steady stream of penalties. The officials are working hard, but it has detracted from the entertainment value of the game a bit.
9:40 p.m. -- It looks like we're headed to another close finish. Tracey Kelusky's goal at 5:10 tied the game at 9-9. I smell a one-goal decision, possibly in overtime.
9;50 p.m. -- No change in the score, as we're down to 4:23 left. Time to get out the silly cliche -- the next goal will be a big one. (Sorry.)
9:57 p.m. -- The Wings take the lead, 10-9, with a minute left. Drew Westervelt had the goal.
9:59 p.m. -- Buffalo has the ball in the final seconds, but can't score. And this one belongs to the Wings.
11:39 p.m. -- Most of the locker room talk was about the penalties. Philly was 6 or 9 with the man advantage, while Buffalo was 1 of 6.
"Great teams overcome that. I guess we're just a good team right now," Bandits coach Darris Kilgour said.
Good night from Banditland.
--- Budd Bailey