It may not quite be the Phoenix rising from its ashes, but this weekend was a huge turnaround for a Buffalo Bandits team that was floundering at the bottom of the standings. Buffalo won for the second straight night, riding a hat trick from John Tavares and 38 saves on 48 shots by Mike Thompson to a 13-10 win over the Minnesota Swarm. With the W, the Bandits pull into a tie with Toronto and actually sit ahead of the Rock for third in the East Division by virtue of the tiebreaker edge they hold over their bitter rivals.
Tavares became the first player in National Lacrosse League history to hit 1,600 points with his 4-point evening following a 7-point effort in Friday’s win in Toronto. The Bandits took control with a 7-1 second quarter that allowed them to overcome a 4-0 third frame in Minnesota’s favour. Scott Self and Luke Wiles added a pair of goals each and Mark Steenhuis had a goal and 3 assists. Ryan Benesch, Callum Crawford and Patrick Smith scored 2 goals each for the Swarm while Jordan MacIntosh notched one marker and 4 helpers. Evan Kirk stopped 35 of the 48 shots he faced, including all 11 in the third quarter.
In Philadelphia it was another milestone sullied by another loss for Shawn Williams, whose Edmonton Rush dropped a 16-15 decision to the Wings. Williams had 2 goals and 7 assists in his 189th straight game. He breaks the record held by Steve Toll and Colin Doyle, and he helped set up a Ryan Ward shorthanded goal that gave Edmonton the lead at 9:46 of the fourth quarter. But after the Rush took holding and too many men on the floor penalties at 11:49, Brendan Mundorf made them pay. The Wings’ lefty forward scored back-to-back power play goals 29 seconds apart to give Philly the win and sole possession of first place in the East.
Mundorf had a good night with 3 goals and 4 assists but he was actually tied for Philadelphia’s third-highest scorer. Mike Hominuk had 3 goals and 9 assists and Dan Dawson matched him point for point with 2 goals and 10 assists. Kevin Crowley scored 4 times and added 3 helpers. Tom Johnson, Scott Evans and Ward all scored 3 goals for the Rush, with Ward tallying 4 assists and Johnson and Evans 3 each.
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