Wings zapped by Thunderbirds on NLL Faceoff Weekend

Philadelphia Wings
Philadelphia Wings logo (Photo Credit/Alex McIntyre)
(Photo Credit/Alex McIntyre)

A lot happened since the Philadelphia Wings made the playoffs for the first time in a decade.

At the end of the 2021-2022 season, the Wings’ playoff push came down to the wire. Blaze Riorden helped will them into the NLL Conference Semifinals. Ultimately, the season ended in a tough contest against the San Diego Seals, 9-8.

Joe Resetarits and Chad Tutton were vital additions for Philadelphia heading into 2022-2023. Resetarits led the NLL in goal-scoring last season, and Tutton surpassed a hundred career turnovers forced and recovered more than a hundred loose balls.

Taking these strides in the off-season, the Wings seemed prepared for this NLL Faceoff Weekend. Kicking off the season, they visited the Halifax Thunderbirds. Similarly, behind a goal in the NLL Conference Semifinals, the Toronto Rock dashed their hopes, 14-13. A battle between two previous playoff clubs set the stage for a new NLL season.

Wings zapped by Thunderbirds

The Thunderbirds never looked back, leading the entirety of their home opener versus Philadelphia. Clarke Petterson and Cody Jamieson jumpstarted the scoring with two goals each in the first quarter. Petterson notched the first powerplay goal of the contest.

Zach Higgins had a rough evening, getting pulled early in the second quarter after saving 12/21 shots on goal.

“We hung our goalies out to dry early in the game and often. That’s at both ends of the floor and the powerplay. We gave up too many transition chances. Defensively, off the ball, we weren’t very good. We weren’t very good in all aspects of the game.”

Paul Day; 12/2/2022

Petterson completed the hat trick on the powerplay after Angus Goodleaf relieved Higgins between the pipes. At the end of the half, Halifax led 10-3.

After halftime adjustments, the Wings presented their best quarter of the contest in the third. At best, they matched the Thunderbirds’ pace on offense. Riorden scored three of his five total goals. Unfortunately, it didn’t cut the deficit.

“Instead of battling them the whole night with passing and cutting, we made sure the guys were cutting through the middle without the ball rather than waiting for the ball. They’re pressing; we tried to play high and wide. We got into some good flow, but at that point you’re chasing the game. It’s pretty difficult.”

Paul Day; 12/2/2022

Closing out this game, Halifax outscored Philadelphia in the final frame, 4-1. Riorden scored the most goals of any individual. Alex Pace and Alex Crepinsek helped contribute on defense by forcing turnovers and recovering loose balls, but it didn’t help the result. Ryan Benesch, Chris Boushy, Eric Fannell, and Petterson all managed a hat trick, at least.

The Thunderbirds (1-0) defeated the Wings (0-1) by a final score of 18-8.

Up Next

Paul Day won’t dwell on this loss. It is one that they’ll learn and grow from in the fifteen days between the loss against Halifax and their upcoming tilt on the road against the Georgia Swarm. He’s already focused on the gameplan moving forward:

“Offensively, we got to play a lot faster. We were standing around a lot, waiting for the ball to come to us. Defensively, we’re outside of our comfort zone a lot, chasing and getting wide out of that shooting area in the middle of the floor that we want to protect. The number of multiple possessions they had in our end was alarming.”

Paul Day; 12/2/2022

A lot of questions stand after this debut. How will the defense respond on the road against the Swarm? An improved structure will alleviate pressure off of their goaltending, giving Higgins a better chance in the crease. Philadelphia is in for a tough battle on the road, and an active offense with the firepower on their roster must find a release.

“This isn’t a rookie team; it’s a veteran group. Everybody’s been in this league a long time and we’ve got to find it within that leadership group to be better every night.”

Paul Day; 12/2/2022

December 17th, 2022 is the date for the next game. Georgia hosts the Wings with the faceoff scheduled for 7pm.

(Photo Credit/Alex McIntyre)