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GAME PREVIEW: FIREWOLVES SEEK SEASON SWEEP OF BANDITS AS THEY TRAVEL TO BUFFALO

Buffalo, NY – In their second meeting of the season, the Albany FireWolves (7-2) will travel to face the Buffalo Bandits (5-4) this Saturday, February 24 at 7:30 pm and look to complete the season sweep of their New York State rivals. The FireWolves beat the Bandits 17-13 in an early season matchup on December 9, but now at the mid-season mark this should be an even more competitive game with both teams having nine regular season games under their belt.  

FireWolves fans can join the watch party at Recovery Sports Grill in Rensselaer, NY at 7:30 pm on Saturday, February 24 for contests and prizes or watch on ESPN+, TSN+, or locally on MY4. 

FireWolves Back On Track 

Albany pulled out a much-needed win against the Colorado Mammoth last weekend and got back on track after a two-game skid. Their young offense came back to life as rookies Tye Kurtz (7pts – 3g, 4a) and Alex Simmons (5pts – 4g, 1a) were sensational, while Ethan Walker (5pts – 3g, 2a) and Travis Longboat (5pts – 1g, 4a) came up big in the back-and-forth game that saw the offense score 13 goals. Marshall Powless scored the game winning goal with a one-handed shot in crunch time. The back end also played well as Doug Jamieson returned from a one game absence to post a season high 50 saves. The defense was solid in front of Jamieson as the FireWolves controlled the loose balls with 77 compared to Colorado’s 66. The extra time for film during the bye weeks for head coach Glenn Clark and his coaching staff paid dividends as the team adjusted their play and are looking like a first-place team.  

Battle Of The I90 

The FireWolves stunned the Bandits with a 17-13 win back in December with their young offensive stars flying by their defense. That was Buffalo’s first game of the season so now at the midseason mark the Bandits are in the swing of things and looking for a big win. This has become a great rivalry as the teams have traded wins in their last few meetings and it always seems to get fast and physical. Albany won in Buffalo in the first game of the 2022-23 season to stun the Banditland crowd so they will be working hard to enjoy that feeling once again. But the defending champion Bandits and their fans continue to make the KeyBank Center the hardest place to play in the NLL.  

Scouting The Bandits  

The two headed monster of Dhane Smith (61pts – 11g, 50a) and Josh Byrne (62pts – 23g, 39a) continues to lead the Bandits offense as the foundational pieces of the franchise. Legendary goalie Matt Vinc has been rocky for some stretches of the season, but when he is locked in, he is still one of the best goalies in the world at age 41. The transition threats of Ian MacKay, Nick Weiss, and Steve Priolo always have the Bandits ready for a run. Buffalo let a big lead slip away versus Halifax last weekend and will be determined to respond with a win.  

FireWolves Players To Watch 

Joe Nardella has been solid in the faceoff circle for the FireWolves and will have a chance at a big game as Buffalo lost 30 of 30 faceoffs against Halifax last weekend. Nardella will give Albany plenty of extra possessions.  

Tye Kurtz exploded for a career-high 7 points last game and is getting more and more comfortable in his rookie year. His shooting and playmaking will be huge for the FireWolves to escape Buffalo with a win.  

Patrick Kaschalk had a season-high of 10 loose balls against Colorado and has been Albany’s best threat in transition this season. He scored a huge goal in their last meeting with Buffalo and his energy will be much needed to give the FireWolves the edge they need.  

Opposing Players To Watch  

Chase Fraser tends to have his biggest games in front of the Bandits crowd and the FireWolves defense will have to keep his slippery goal scoring at bay.  

Ian MacKay scooped up 14 loose balls against Halifax and has been a do-it-all player for Buffalo all season. Limiting his transition opportunities will be crucial to stop any big runs.  

Dhane Smith has always been a big point producer, but this season has evolved his game to become a truly elite passer. His 50 assists lead the NLL.  

Single game tickets for the 2023-2024 FireWolves season are available now! Join us for Marvel Night as the first 3,000 fans will receive an NLL themed comic book featuring FireWolves players Doug Jamieson, Marshall Powless, and Colton Watkinson on the cover. For more information regarding tickets, visit www.AlbanyFireWolves.com or call/text the FireWolves front office at 518-362-4900. 

About Albany FireWolves

The Albany FireWolves is the Capital Region’s very own Professional Box Lacrosse team, playing in the National Lacrosse League out of the MVP Arena in downtown Albany, NY. For more information, contact the Albany FireWolves Front Office at (518) 362-4900 or visit AlbanyFireWolves.com. Follow the team on Facebook at facebook.com/AlbFireWolves, Twitter @AlbFireWolves, and Instagram @AlbFireWolves.

About the National Lacrosse League

The National Lacrosse League (NLL) is North America’s premier professional lacrosse league. Founded in 1986, the NLL ranks third in average attendance for pro indoor sports worldwide, behind only the NHL and NBA. The League is comprised of 15 franchises across the United States and Canada: Albany FireWolves, Buffalo Bandits, Calgary Roughnecks, Colorado Mammoth, Georgia Swarm, Halifax Thunderbirds, Las Vegas Desert Dogs, New York Riptide, Panther City Lacrosse Club (TX), Philadelphia Wings, Rochester Knighthawks, San Diego Seals, Saskatchewan Rush, Toronto Rock, and Vancouver Warriors. For more information, visit NLL.com and find @NLL on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About MVP Arena

MVP Arena is a full-service entertainment and sports facility featuring a wide variety of family shows, sporting events, trade shows and concerts. Owned by Albany County and managed by ASM Global, MVP Arena opened in 1990 and is home to the Albany FireWolves of the National Lacrosse League, the Albany Firebirds of the Arena Football League and the Division I Men’s College Basketball Siena Saints. For more information, please visit https://www.mvparena.com/

Albany FireWolves