The last time the Philadelphia Wings faced the New England Black Wolves, it was with first place on the line in the NLL East Division. This was only three games ago. Three games ago was also the last time the Wings were victorious. Today, Philadelphia is in a “must-win” situation after dropping a second straight game against the Colorado Mammoth. Once first place in the NLL East Division, the Wings are now a game behind the Black Wolves.
Now in third place in the NLL East Division, the Philadelphia Wings not only need to win today against the New England Black Wolves, but they also need to win against Georgia Swarm tomorrow. Just like the Saskatchewan Rush, the Black Wolves have been stellar on the road. New England has yet to lose when traveling to play an opponent. Once again, the Wings have an opportunity to put a blemish on a perfect away record. If Philadelphia were to lose today, they would fall to .500 at home.
Leading the NLL East Division in goals scored, the Philadelphia Wings are going to need to be firing on all cylinders today and tomorrow to climb back to the top of the division. The New England Black Wolves have allowed the fewest goals against in the NLL East Division. The fourteen goals scored against the Black Wolves three games ago are the most the Wings have scored against any opponent in their last five games. Since then, Philadelphia hasn’t been able to exceed ten. New England has scored more than ten goals in four of their last five games.
Tale of the Tape
While the Philadelphia Wings have played two more games than the New England Black Wolves this season, the Black Wolves are statistically showing to be the stronger team. The biggest strength New England has coming into today’s matchup is the hustle stat for loose ball recoveries. Those extend possessions for more shots on goal and goals in general. The Wings are superior in faceoff percentage, as they have been all season long. Transition play and offensive possessions off of the draw are where Philadelphia is going to have to convert their opportunities.
Players to Watch
If the Philadelphia Wings can find a way to contain Callum Crawford, their chances go up drastically to get the win at home. Crawford not only is the leading scorer for the New England Black Wolves, but he is leading the entire NLL. A lot of the success today depends on Zach Higgins goaltending and Trevor Baptiste’s faceoff wins. Defense and extra possessions are how the Wings even the playing field against the Black Wolves. Offensively, Philadelphia needs a streamline of production from Kevin Crowley and Matt Rambo.
Today will be a battle between the top two goaltenders in the NLL. Doug Jamieson is ahead of Zach Higgins in the goals-against average. Jamieson has allowed an average of 8.95 goals per game while Higgins allows an average of 9.18. The Philadelphia Wings are going to want to do everything they can to keep the New England Black Wolves off the powerplay. Heading into today, the special teams play favors the Black Wolves on the powerplay and penalty kill.
Faceoff today is at 1 pm from the Wells Fargo Center. The game can be viewed on NBC Sports Philadelphia and Bleacher Report Live. For live updates from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, follow Ricky_amandeo8 and PhiladelphiaSN on Twitter!
Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre