On the road, the Philadelphia Wings went 2-1 against the Halifax Thunderbirds, Georgia Swarm, and Las Vegas Desert Dogs. Returning home to the Wells Fargo Center meant the first time the NLL faced off in the City of Brotherly Love since March 31st, 2022.
Returning to Philadelphia with a winning record meant Paul Day and his lineup were off to the right start. Combining monster efforts from Ben McIntosh, Joe Resetarits, and Blaze Riorden with Trevor Baptiste at the stripe, the Wings became a hard team to defeat. Zach Higgins corrected the start to his season, notching back-to-back wins.
Behind Higgins and a hard, physical defensive effort, the Wings hosted the Panther City Lacrosse Club, welcoming lacrosse back to their home floor.
Wings vs Panther City
Jonathan Donville put Panther City on the board first, firing with enough might to finish the job against Higgins. Baptiste won the next draw before Kiel Matisz tied the game from the slot. Tied, 1-1, both teams picked up the physicality, including Steph Charbonneau and Mathieu Gautier along the boards. Philadelphia tallied two more from Resetarits and Isaiah Davis-Allen, leading 3-1.
Phil Caputo nearly scored on the powerplay with Baptiste in the box, but there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the original call from NLL officiating, indicating a crease violation. Will Malcom scored following the disallowed goal, but Chad Tutton started another three-goal run. The Wings led 6-2 at the end of the first half, including Riorden and another from Resetarits. Along with a first-half goal, Riorden also notched his 100th career assist.
“He’s [Riorden] been our most consistent forward, no doubt.”Paul Day; 1/14/2023
Beginning the second half, Panther City went on an extended run after Caputo got his goal back, including another from Malcom and one from Patrick Dodds. Resetarits completed the hat trick to disrupt the Panther City momentum, keeping a two-goal lead for Philadelphia, 7-5. Higgins made two point-blank saves to ultimately keep Panther City from taking the lead. John Ranagan and Nathan Grenon recaptured the physicality earlier from Charbonneau and Gautier. Panther City outscored the Wings, 5-1 in the third quarter, with two more goals from Gautier and Matt Hossack to tie the game, 7-7.
“The biggest problem in the second half were turnovers. When you’re chasing the turnover it’s really hard to be in position to play defense; we’re always chasing the ball. We turned the ball over five or six times in the fourth quarter that were unforced errors.”Paul Day; 1/14/2023
Gautier and Josh Medeiros continued the Panther City trend of starting the scoring. Philadelphia felt the pressure for the first time, but Hunter Lemieux made his introduction. Malcom secured a hat trick, but the Wings responded with two more by Sam LeClair and Riorden. Not only did Malcom secure a hat trick in the fourth quarter, he was also responsible for the game-winner. Medeiros added the final blow to Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center, putting Panther City in the win column, 12-10.
A Lot of the Season Remains (+)
Unlike their loss to the Thunderbirds, the Wings don’t have two weeks to recollect. Turnovers and loose balls did not help their cause. Panther City outhustled Philadelphia in an equally disheveled performance.
“There’s no panic. We just got to get back to playing the basics and we’ll be fine.”Joe Resetarits; 1/14/2023
The Wings had a handful more turnovers than Panther City. In a close game, those losses of possession prove costly.
“Everything’s correctable, and everyone in the locker room knows that. We’ll be fine for next week.”Joe Resetarits; 1/14/2023
Philadelphia typically isn’t bested in five-on-five lacrosse, and they’ll look to right the way on January 21st, 2023, versus the Toronto Rock.
Simplify the Game (-)
An old adage in most sports is ‘take what the defense gives you.’ In other words, simplify the game. Once a team complicates an otherwise simple objective, they play against themselves.
“We forced a little bit when the game got away from us, and then we had to be risky because we were behind; we continued to force to try and catch up. We got away from simple plays; taking care of the ball, and just really the lack of energy.”Kiel Matisz; 1/14/2023
The Wings didn’t go on a three-goal run in the second half after doing so twice in the first two quarters. Playing behind pace created a lack of execution, affecting all aspects of lacrosse for Philadelphia.
“Lacrosse is a game of runs. It’s not uncommon to be up four goals; goals happen quick. The ebbs and flows of the game happen naturally, but I didn’t think we managed staying even-keeled. We definitely didn’t do that.”Kiel Matisz; 1/14/2023
Matisz added the Wings got too comfortable with their halftime lead, preceding the third-quarter dominance by Panther City.
Next, the Philadelphia Wings host the Toronto Rock on Saturday, January 21st, 2023. Opening faceoff is 7pm from the Wells Fargo Center.
(Photo Credit/Alex McIntyre)