The New York Riptide travel to Upstate, NY on Friday, January 19th to play the Buffalo Bandits at 7:30 PM EST. The Riptide are coming off a loss against Panther City last weekend 14-12, as Buffalo is coming off a win against another in-state rival, The Rochester Knighthawks. After an NLL championship last year, Buffalo currently sits in a good position to make the playoffs at 3-2 with a +4 goal differential. New York has some work to do as they are currently 1-4 and tied for last place with the Colorado Mammoth and the Vancouver Warriors. This game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and TSN along with live updates from the Riptide’s X account @newyorkriptide.
The New York Riptide has not had an ideal start to the season, sitting at 1-4 after five games. Most recently the Riptide dropped their last game to Panther City in a tightly contested game last Saturday. Connor Kearnan and Reilly O’Connor lead both sides with a game-high 5 assists each and 7 total points. However, their efforts were not enough to give the Riptide their second win on the season as Jason Knox’s first career hattrick carried Panther City to the victory. Jeff Teat had 4 goals on the day, which moved him up to a tie for 7th place in the NLL with 14 goals. The 14 goals are tied with Josh Byrne, who will match up against Teat on Friday night. Connor Kearnan’s 5 assists against Panther City moved him into a tie for 11th place in the NLL with 18 assists in five games thus far.
The Buffalo Bandits began their title defense season with an opening-day loss to Albany. Since then, the team has won 3 out of their last 4 games with two straight victories over playoff teams from last season. Matt Vinc has been lights out in goal for Buffalo in the past two games, posting back-to-back 50 saves efforts. Vinc is 41 years old and in his 18th season but has shown no signs of slowing down anytime soon. On the other side of the ball, Dhane Smith is leading the NLL in assists this year with 30, 9 more than Alex Simmons, who is in second place in the NLL. Through the first five games, Dhane has shown his elite passing abilities registering at least five assists in every game this year. Dhane Smith and Josh Byrne are the clear leaders for the Bandits on offense, as both have 33 points this season.
Last Season’s Matchup
The Riptide and the Bandits met twice last season with the Bandits being triumphant in both contests. The first matchup took place in New York, where the Bandits pulled away in the second half to win that matchup 16-10. That Riptide led after a quarter of play and was tied at the half before the Bandit’s offense caught fire, scoring 9 goals in the second half, compared to the Riptide’s 3. The second meeting came down to the wire in Buffalo, as the Riptide led by two goals with six minutes left in the game. After a Josh Byrne goal, Dhane Smith found the back of the net with 29 seconds remaining in the fourth to send the game to overtime. Then in Overtime, it was Josh Byrne ending the game off a feed from Chris Cloutier to propel the Bandits the victory. Both games were tightly contested between the in-state rivals and should have much of the same this year.
Tucker Out Lymphoma Night:
This game holds additional significance for both sides as the Buffalo Bandits will host “Tucker Out Lymphoma Night”. The evening will honor the memory of Tucker Williams. Tucker, the son of former Bandits player Shawn Williams, lost his battle with Burkitt lymphoma in 2014. During the game, both Bandits and Riptide players will wear special jerseys designed by Tucker’s brother Dyson to commemorate the night. For the Riptide, Governor Erik Baker holds this cause tight to his heart as well. Erik’s son Cam was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2018 as Erik spoke to the team last year about the importance of this game.
Both the Bandits and Riptide will wear special jerseys to commemorate the night. Bandits and Riptide game-worn jerseys and shorts, special Tucker Out Lymphoma Night nameplates, and both teams’ goal balls are now available to be bid on by fans at Bandits.com/auctions. This game will be broadcast on ESPN+ for all the viewers at home to watch along with live updates available on the team’s X account @newyorkriptide.