We Fly Together: Wings soar into first place in NLL East Division

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It’s exactly what the doctor ordered! Two wins this week for the Philadelphia Wings propel them to first place in the NLL East Division. First, it was a low scoring, defensive victory against the Buffalo Bandits. Next, it was the revenge game against the New England Black Wolves. When the Wings left the Mohegan Sun Arena on Sunday night, they did it wearing the Black Wolves pelt.

Earlier this season, the Philadelphia Wings lost controversially in overtime as a goal was surrendered by Zach Higgins. The only issue with that game-winning goal for the New England Black Wolves is that there was a crease violation that went uncalled. See the overhead camera angle on that goal for further evidence. To avenge the loss, the Wings were determined to spoil the home-field advantage for the Black Wolves. Not only did Philadelphia win, 14-11, the Wings also turned the corner against two winning teams in the NLL this week!

First Quarter

In the opening minute of the first quarter, Matt Rambo picked up where he left off against the Buffalo Bandits the night prior. The first two Philadelphia Wings goals were scored by Rambo, drawing first blood. After Rambo, Brett Hickey got in on the scoring for the Wings, extending the early lead to 3-0. The screened shots were working in Philadelphia’s favor, but Ryan Wagner would end up scoring in transition with little resistance from the New England Black Wolves defense. At the end of the first quarter, the Wings shut down the Black Wolves, 4-0.

Second Quarter

Matt Rambo continued his offensive output in the second quarter, completing his hat-trick on a powerplay. Colton Watkinson finally got the New England Black Wolves on the scoreboard after running through Isaiah Davis-Allen and scoring point-blank on Zach Higgins. The Philadelphia Wings were back on the powerplay when Kevin Crowley got the assist on a beautiful “superman dive” from behind the crease by Josh Currier. Now down, 6-1, the Black Wolves’ Tony Malcolm had a breakaway in the transition to cut Philadephia’s lead down to four goals. Before halftime, New England scored two more goals from Joe Resetarits and Callum Crawford, cutting the Wings’ lead to two.

Third Quarter

After halftime, the New England Black Wolves were the first to score and get within striking distance of tying the game from a high percentage shot from Jordan Durston. The Philadelphia Wings were on the penalty kill and the Black Wolves took advantage when Joe Resetarits tied the game at six, taking a page out of Josh Currier’s book. Just as New England tied the game, Brett Hickey took the lead back for the Wings with four and a half minutes remaining. However, Philadephia wasn’t out of the woods yet. Before the end of the third quarter, Callum Crawford scored his second of the night to tie the game back at seven.

Fourth Quarter

About five minutes into the fourth quarter, the New England Black Wolves took their first lead of the game when Joe Resetarits completed his hat-trick off a quick stick in the slot. A minute later, that lead disappeared when Matt Rambo scored his fourth of the night. Kevin Crowley would add to the total and when Brett Hickey completed his hat-trick, the Philadelphia Wings led 10-9 with 7:11 remaining in regulation. By the end of the night, Kiel Matisz iced the game with an empty-net goal for the Wings. Rambo finished with the rare “double hat-trick,” scoring six goals.

Flying Forward

“The first seed will soon become the Wings to lose.” That is what my colleague, Ricky Amandeo, stated in his preview piece. After this week, showing just how far this team has come in one season, that couldn’t be truer. The NLL is on notice and the Philadelphia Wings are a top of their division. With a playoff spot in their hands, now is the time to keep the pedal to the metal and break away from the rest of the pack.

Up next, the Philadelphia Wings host the Saskatchewan Rush on February 22nd, 2020. This game will take place at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with faceoff at 7 pm. For coverage, be sure to follow EricReesePSN and PhiladelphiaSN on Twitter!