UNCASVILLE, Conn., Feb. 19 – The New England Black Wolves indoor lacrosse team built a number of early three-goal leads, but couldn’t hold off the Buffalo Bandits, falling 16-15 in overtime in National Lacrosse League play on Sunday afternoon at Mohegan Sun Arena.
On Military Appreciation Day, with 5,831 looking on, the Black Wolves had the first possession of overtime thanks to the last of Jay Thorimbert’s season-high 23 faceoff wins.
But as the Black Wolves (3-5) worked the ball around, Buffalo’s Mitch de Snoo stepped up and picked off a pass intended for Shawn Evans. He went the opposite way, beating New England goalie Evan Kirk just 25 seconds into the extra session.
Held without a goal Friday night for the first time since April 3, 2015 when he played for Calgary, Evans had two goals in a span of 13 seconds just three minutes into the game. He finished with a season-high six goals and also had six assists.
Kevin Crowley (three goals, four assists) had his third hat trick in a row and his fifth of the year while Kevin Buchanan had two goals and a career-high seven assists. Reilly O’Connor chipped in with a season-high two goals. Evan Kirk, who was peppered for 63 shots by a relentless Buffalo attack, turned away 27 of the first 30 shots he faced and finished with 47 saves, including a number of point-blank stops.
New England won in Buffalo Friday night, and looked poised to complete a weekend sweep of the defending East Division champions after jumping out to first-quarter leads of 4-1 and 5-2. The Black Wolves continued to control play in the second quarter, building leads of 6-3 and 8-5 while Kirk made a number of spectacular saves.
Buffalo (2-5) continued to battle, however. The Bandits would out-shoot New England 63-52 and had a 56-47 edge in loose balls. The visitors also scored two short-handed goals in 12 seconds to take their first lead of the night (12-10) during a wild fourth-quarter in which the game was tied five times and the teams combined for 13 goals.
The last of those fourth-quarter goals came from Buchanan, who converted a pass from Evans to tie the game at 15 with 1:10 remaining.
The last 70 seconds of regulation was scoreless, and New England went to overtime for the third time this season.
Dhane Smith (four goals, one assist), Mark Steenhuis (two goals, three assists), Blaze Riorden (two goals, one assist) and Craig England (two goals, one assist) all contributed to the Bandit attack.
The Black Wolves will be in action next on Sunday when they take on the Colorado Mammoth at Mohegan Sun Arena at 1 p.m.
National Lacrosse League standings
Toronto 10, Rochester 6
Saskatachewan 8, Colorado 7
Vancouver 13, Calgary 10
Buffalo 16, New England 15, OT
Georgia 15, Rochester 9
Saturday, Feb. 25
Toronto at Buffalo, 7:30
Calgary at Saskatchewan, 8:30
Rochester at Vancouver, 10
Sunday, Feb. 26
Colorado at New England, 1