Glenside native Matt Rambo scores overtime winner, Wings win 13-12
The Wings are Back! The Philadelphia Wings professional box lacrosse team took the floor at the Wells Fargo Center for the first time in more than 635 days and came away with a 13-12 comeback win in overtime.
Unlike many other pro sports leagues, the National Lacrosse League has been unable to return to play since the COVID pandemic shut down the 2019-20 season on March 12, 2020. Since then, the league has conducted two virtual entry drafts, held two free agency periods, and announced two new expansion teams. One of those teams was their season-opening opponent, the Fort Worth-based Panther City Lacrosse Club.
Tracey Kelusky Returns to Philly; Sloppy Start for Wings
Panther City, led by former Wings offensive coach Tracey Kelusky, got off to a hot start in the franchise’s inaugural game, taking an early 2-0 lead. Philadelphia’s shot selection to start was very poor. The game could have started out a lot worse if Wings goaltender Zach Higgins hadn’t come up with a handful of big saves in the first quarter.
Philadelphia would finally break through halfway through the first quarter thanks to a power-play goal from Corey Small. Small’s first with the same having left Buffalo to sign a one-year deal with Philly in the offseason.
Yet, former Philadelphia defender Liam Patten responded with a transition goal that kicked off a 3-1 run for Panther City to end the first quarter. After trading goals in the second quarter, the Wings entered the second half trailing 7-4.
Wings Win Second Half; Ben McIntosh Makes Debut
Head Coach Paul Day was able to make the necessary halftime adjustments and the Wings kicked off the third quarter with a 6-2 run, including two goals from major offseason trade acquisition Ben McIntosh.
While originally from Coquitlam, Canada, McIntosh’s four-point team debut was a homecoming of sorts for the righty forward who played college lacrosse at Drexel University from 2011 to 2014. His four points contributed to a late 10-9 lead for Philly.
The Wings would relinquish their 10-9 lead in the fourth after a pair of Panthers goals. However, they were able to tie it back up thanks to a Brett Hickey power-play goal with 5:12 left and several big saves on the doorstep by Higgins with under two minutes to go.
Rambo Draws Last Blood
Glenside native Matt Rambo, known for his late-game heroics, nearly ended the game in regulation, but his shot hit the pipe with 40 seconds left, and the two teams headed to overtime.
Rambo wouldn’t let another opportunity to end the game pass and treated the home crowd to some overtime magic, putting in the game-winner on a pick play.
Despite struggling to keep up with Panther City’s run and gun style, the Wings capitalized on PCLC’s mistakes, converting on all five powerplay opportunities. Still, shot selection will need to improve going forward if they want to compete in this crowded East Division.
The Wings will be back in action at the Wells Fargo Center at 7:30 pm EST on December 10 in a matchup with their divisional rival, the New York Riptide.
Mandatory Credit: Hannah Snyder, Philadelphia Wings