Wings Secure an ugly win on ugly sweater night, 14-12
It hasn’t been glamorous, but your Philadelphia Wings are 2-0 and currently the best pro sports team in the City of Brotherly Love. While their New York rivals gave them a close fight, the Wings’ offensive firepower proved to be enough as Philly squeaked out the 14-12 victory on Friday night.
After going down 0-1 to start the game, the Wings quickly took the lead and never relinquished it. Yet, despite maintaining the lead for the majority of the game, the Riptide kept it close throughout. Transition was once again an Achilles heel for the Wings as poor substitution and lazy transition defense contributed to a handful of the Riptide’s goals and prevented the Wings from truly putting the game away.
Big Night for Corey Small and Kevin Crowley
Philadelphia went up 11-8 late in the third quarter and seemed to have the momentum, but a goal from New York’s Connor Kearnan and a pair by Callum Crawford (including one with one second left in the quarter) tied the game at 11 heading into the fourth quarter.
Thankfully, Corey Small would regain the lead for the Wings early in the fourth and, after the Wings and Riptide traded goals, would ice the game with his fifth goal and eighth point of the day.
Wings captain Kevin Crowley was rather quiet in Philly’s first game, but he made up for it in the Wings’ second contest, recording four goals and five assists. Philly’s finest Matt Rambo also helped lead the charge with a goal and four assists and Zach Higgins came up big in cage once again, making 36 saves on 48 shots.
The Wings’ Championship Aspirations
While the Wings can be satisfied with their 2-0 start, they’re going to need to play a lot better if they want to contend for a title.
“Get to the championship and hold the trophy at the end of the year, that’s the goal,” Wings forward Ben McIntosh stated on the Pro Lacrosse Talk Podcast earlier this week.
The additions of McIntosh and Small this offseason gave the Wings two more players with finals experience, but the team is still not playing up to its championship potential. They needed overtime to defeat the expansion franchise Panther City to open the season and let the New York Riptide hang around in a game that shouldn’t have been as close as it ended.
The Wings’ next opponent, the Toronto Rock, will prove to be a much tougher foe and have a variety of weapons that can make the Wings pay if they’re not careful. Rock netminder Nick Rose will be the best goalie Philly has faced this season and the Rock have arguably two of the biggest transition threats in the NLL in Latrell Harris and Challen Rogers.
Not to mention, the Rock are expected to activate TD Ierlan, who can go toe-to-toe with Trevor Baptiste and potentially neutralize the Wings’ faceoff advantage. Look for the Wings’ game with Toronto on Saturday, December 18 to reveal the Wings true colors.
A Festive Night In Philly
We’d be remiss if we didn’t spotlight the special holiday-themed “ugly sweaters” that the Wings wore on Friday night. While their victory was unintentionally ugly, their gameday jerseys were the perfect amount of intentional ugliness.
Tune into Pro Lacrosse Talk on where ever you listen to podcasts.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre - NLL Wings Team Photographer. Follow her on Twitter here.