The Buffalo Bandits didn't embarrass the Thunder as they did the expansion Charlotte Cobras a week earlier, but last night's 25-17 victory proved just as distressing for Baltimore.
The Thunder, which took offense to the Bandits' record-setting 28-6 rout of the Cobras, wanted to exact vengeance for the Major Indoor Lacrosse League's first-year franchise and as Thunder coach Skip Lichtfuss put it, "bring Buffalo down a couple of notches."
But the league-leading Bandits ruined the Thunder's plans and maintained their unbeaten status before a crowd of 4,549 at the Baltimore Arena.
Led by three-time All Pro John Tavares (six goals, six assists) and Troy Cordingley (four goals, three assists), the Bandits improved their record to 6-0 and put Baltimore -- a team on the playoff bubble -- in a must-win situation next Saturday at Rochester.
The Thunder, which has yet to beat the Bandits since Buffalo joined the league in 1992, was hit with a flurry of penalties early in the second quarter which led to the ejection of Baltimore's Tim Welsh and seven-for-10 first-half, power-play goals for the Bandits.
"You give up seven man-up goals in the first half and you dig yourself a hole that is tough to get out of," said Lichtfuss. "The officials told us before the game that they were going to tighten up but we're not nearly as penalized a team as they are and it just seemed like we were the only ones getting called for anything."
Buffalo took a double-digit lead 3:37 into the fourth quarter before the Thunder made it look respectable with late goals by Jeff Klodzen, Mark Millon, Rob Shek and Adam Mueller.
"You can't foul against Buffalo or Philly because when these guys get room and time, they score," said Brian Kroneberger. "We wanted to press them all over the floor but when you're in the penalty box you can't do that."
Said Buffalo coach Les Bartley: "Our team is a strong team and I could put my third line out there and we're still going to score goals on a team like Charlotte. It's unfortunate that Charlotte was that weak."