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Bandits live blog from First Niagara Center: Buffalo vs. Minnesota

7:05 p.m. -- Another day, another game, another live blog.

The Bandits are ready to finish their last back-to-back weekend of the season with a game against the Minnesota Swarm. From here on in, it's one at a time for Buffalo.

According to reports, everyone navigated the fog safely on the way back to Western New York last night. The Bay Bridge in Hamilton was a little mysterious. The Bandits had a shootaround this morning, and everyone was in good spirits. Coach Darris Kilgour did say that last night's win against Toronto meant little if the team didn't win this game.

Kilgour wasn't planning any lineup changes from yesterday. Mike Thompson will start in goal, while Roger Vyse, Tom Montour and Ian Llord probably will sit.

The Bandits got spanked in their visit to Minnesota earlier this season, in a game that featured a huge brawl at the half. We'll see if there is a carryover effect today.

7:12 p.m. -- The Bandits are sporting special uniforms with a green tint tonight. The game-worn versions will be auctioned off for charity for this week, and you can buy them at the souvenir stands as well. (I assume they'll be available at the Sabres store starting Monday as well).

Shameless plug department: I do post links to Bandits' stories and blogs on my Twitter account, @WDX2BB. I'm hoping to crack 50 followers by June; I'm at 49 now. You will get links to my book reviews and personal blogs, so be forewarned.

7:21 p.m. -- Here's the stat of the night from our research staff: The Bandits outscored Toronto by 10 goals in the second half last night (13-3). That's the second-biggest margin by a Buffalo team back through the start of 2009. The champion half came on Jan. 16, 2009, when the Bandits outscored Rochester by 12 goals.

By the way, Buffalo was outscored by Rochester by seven goals in the first half last week. That's the largest such deficit run up in a half by the Bandits since at least 2009. I didn't have time to go back deeper into Bandits' history.

7:30 p.m. -- Milestone alert: John Tavares needs four points tonight to reach 1,600 for his career.

7:40 p.m. -- No scoring to report in the early going, but a few penalties. Buffalo has taken three minors so far. We had a pair of #98's in the penalty box at one point (Jimmy Purves and Callum Crawford), which probably makes some sort of sports history.

7:48 p.m. -- After Minnesota jumped out by a 2-0 score, Tavares and Scott Self answered. We are 2-2 with 3:47 to go in the period.

7:52 p.m. -- Heard an explanation of the odd play that resulted in a breakaway Toronto goal last night. The league told teams earlier in the week that they must pick up the ball quickly on 30-second calls. Otherwise, it will be considered a loose ball and there for the taking. The Rock picked one up last night and got a breakaway. The Bandits just weren't used to that faster tempo. Still 2-2 late in first. (And that's the way it ends after a period.)

7:56 p.m. -- The Philadelphia Wings say they just set a world record for most people playing the air guitar at once. This was the team that put Twitter handles instead of names on the backs of uniforms for a game with the Bandits this season. Someone is thinking creatively down there.

8:01 p.m. -- A flurry of goals has Buffalo up, 4-3, with 13:27 left in the half. By the way, the Bandits have changed goalies during their last four consecutive games and five of their nine games overall.

8:08 p.m. -- The flurry of minors continues, but the penalty killing has kept the score intact. Brandon Francis just got called for a crease violation, wiping out a goal.

8:11 p.m. -- Sometimes you have to be lucky. A Minnesota shot rebounded out into midfield ... just when Jimmy Purves was coming out of the penalty box. He scooped up the ball and had a long breakaway. Purves converted for his third of the season to make it a 6-3 Buffalo lead, and a 6-1 run. As we take a media timeout, the fans are watching the bloopers and blunders reel -- nothing like seeing other people come close to seriously hurting themselves (at least, I hope that's all they did). It is popular, though, so I'm outvoted on this one.

8:18 p.m. -- Tavares reaches #1599 with a power-play goal. And Francis gets his goal to make it 8-3 with 5:10 left in the half. Meanwhile, Thompson is playing well in goal ... and so are the guys in front of him.

8:29 p.m. -- The Bandits have finished a sparkling half of indoor lacrosse. They lead, 9-3 No goals allowed in the final 13-plus minutes of the period.

8:53 p.m. -- The Swarm are showing signs of life. Two goals have cut the lead to 9-5 with 9:11 left in the third.

9:01 p.m. -- So at nine o'clock on a Saturday (plus a minute), the scoring has stopped. Buffalo has been blanked in the first 10:40 of the quarter, but Minnesota has missed a chance to get back in the game by not scoring after those first two goals.

9:09 p.m. -- Hmmm. Minnesota has scored two more goals to creep back to 9-7. Callum Crawford had both scores. Are the Bandits sitting back too much, or are they just tired? Or, maybe Minnesota is just playing better

9:14 p.m. -- An absolutely huge goal by Kevin Buchanan makes it 10-7. First Buffalo goal of the half.

9:20 p.m. -- John Tavares makes his 1,600th point a big one. He took a long pass from Billy Dee Smith and scored on a breakaway to make it 11-7, Buffalo.

9:28 p.m. -- Ryan Benesch gets a power-play goal to cut the Buffalo lead to 11-8.

9:36 p.m. -- 11-9, Buffalo, with 1:48 left.

9:38 p.m. -- Scott Self adds some insurance with 1:12 left.

941 p.m. -- Bandits win, 13-10. The weekend might have saved the season.

--- Budd Bailey


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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.