BUFFALO — The penalty calls against them kept coming.
But in the end, it didn’t matter.
The Buffalo Bandits allowed five power-play goals only to overcome them and score a 12-9 win over the Colorado Mammoth before 15,445 at First Niagara Center Saturday night.
Hamburg native Joe Resetarits finished with six points (2+4), as did Mark Steenhuis (3+3) to lead the Bandits (8-2) to their sixth straight win at home and third consecutive win overall.
Buffalo finished with 15 penalty minutes compared to the Mammoth’s four. Included in the calls against the Bandits was a five-minute major for boarding on Dhane Smith 11:50 into the third. John Grant Jr. scored two of his four goals early in that man-advantage to tie things at 7-7.
Buffalo had led all night until then. However, undeterred by allowing the swarm of power-play markers, the Bandits regained the lead in the closing seconds of the third. With Smith still in the box, John Tavares had a quick release to beat the buzzer while goalie Anthony Cosmo was off for an extra attacker.
“We stuck to our game plan,” Buffalo coach Troy Cordingley said. “… Our guys battled hard. We have some guys with ice packs on and that’s a good indication of how hard we battled.”
Like they have all year, the Bandits followed up in the final period. They surrendered yet another goal while shorthanded in the final 15, but not much else developed for Colorado (5-8).
Steenhuis played the role of closer with two of his goals coming in the last half of the fourth. His first of the two found the net with 7:25 to play and did so just 28 seconds after a Shawn Williams tally.
Buffalo had an 11-8 lead at that point, which is plenty for it nowadays, as it improved to 6-0 when holding a lead through three quarters.
“To me it looks like we know how to win,” said Tavares, who had two goals and an assist. “Last couple years it seems like we found ways to lose. This year we’re finding ways to win, and that’s the sign of a good team.”
The Bandits scored the first five goals of the contest and Colorado didn’t get on the board until 5:20 remained before halftime, but three quick goals — two on the power play — had it back in the game. Cosmo stopped 21 of 24 shots in the opening half and recorded 45 for the game.
Resetarits was central to the Bandits opening the game on a big run, scoring twice while adding a pair of assists in the first half.
“He’s a huge asset to the team,” Tavares said of the second-year man. “He’s a really good cutter and he’s been scoring some nice goals for us. When we’re flat he seems to pick it up for us in terms of getting through the middle and getting some opportunities.”
Saturday marked the first game of the second half of Buffalo’s schedule and it has already surpassed last year’s win total of six.
The Bandits will next step away from home for a three-game road stretch. It begins with a steep challenge, as they travel to Edmonton looking to be the first to defeat the 10-0 Rush.
Follow contributing reporter Aaron Garland on Twitter @AA_Garland.