Last Sunday, the Philadelphia Wings and the Rochester Knighthawks went to war. The score doesn’t show it, but the penalty minutes certainly do. It was the Wings we all expected to see after a disappointing loss in overtime the previous night against the New England Black Wolves. Clean or dirty, hits were aplenty. There were more punches thrown than Connor McGregor’s victory over Donald Cerrone.
After a 12-4 victory, the Philadelphia Wings play the New York Riptide for the second time this season. This is the first time they host the Riptide at the Wells Fargo Center. Earlier this season, the Wings visited Uniondale, New York and escaped with a close win. The 15-12 victory was the second of the season for Philadelphia. The Wings (4-2) are second in the East Division while the Riptide (1-5) are last in the East Division.
Tonight’s clash is billed as the NLL Game of the Week! The Philadelphia Wings only allowed four goals in their war with the Rochester Knighthawks. Last Saturday, the New York Riptide secured their first win. Zach Higgins has been a brick wall between the pipes this season, but the Riptide has shown that they can stretch the field and score. New York has yet to show this season that they can handle the Wings defense.
This will be the second of three regular-season meetings between the Philadelphia Wings and the New York Riptide. It’s an important game for both franchises. The Riptide can seize this opportunity to turn their season around. For the Wings, a win tonight gets them closer to the top of the East Division where the New England Black Wolves live. My prediction lands with Philadelphia putting New York in the rearview once again.
The Tale of the Tape
The Philadelphia Wings have the advantage in every perceivable way against the New York Riptide. Through five games this season, the margins of success for the Wings still show that they would still be superior if they also played six games like the Riptide. Philadelphia averages about 22 more shots a game than New York, four more goals a game than the Riptide, 20 more loose balls recovered than New York and a faceoff percentage that is 29% superior. These are statistics that create offense and install time of possession. Along with all of that, the Wings have had one of the better defenses in the NLL this season.
Players to Watch
When we are talking about creating offense, the man to watch tonight is none other than Kevin Crowley. This season, he is in the top ten of goals scored and assists in the NLL. Overall, Crowley is fifth in the NLL in total offensive points.
Trevor Baptiste is still the best in the business at getting to the loose balls. Whether it’s in transition or on faceoffs, it doesn’t matter. Baptiste is “numero uno” in the NLL. Rounding out the top five in creating extra possessions is Kiel Matisz.
Faceoff tonight is at 7 pm from the Wells Fargo Center. The game can be viewed on NBC Sports Philadelphia, or the MSG Network, and online at NLL Live.
Mandatory Credit – Alex McIntyre