Spending a month at the Wells Fargo Center didn’t go as planned for the Philadelphia Wings. After starting with a 2-1 record, they dropped to 2-4 following the latest defeat to the Buffalo Bandits.
Before the Bandits, the Wings were routed by the Toronto Rock, and the Panther City Lacrosse Club completed their comeback in the second half to complete the win. Last night was a must-win versus the Albany Firewolves. It was also the debut of Mitch Jones, the latest Paul Day acquisition.
Making a trade for Jones meant help on the powerplay. Philadelphia did send Steph Charbonneau to the Vancouver Warriors with a couple of draft picks to spark their rebuild, then cited Jones as a player who immediately makes the offense better. He has a very high lacrosse IQ, stopping the transition and helping extend possessions with Trevor Baptiste. It didn’t take long to see Jones’ effect on his new teammates.
“Generally, a lot of the defensive players are the leaders in the loose ball category. Behind Trevor, he would have the second most loose balls on our team. That’s more possessions offensively because he’s such a good athlete.”Paul Day; 2/2/2023
Did the Wings get back into the win column versus the Firewolves?
Philadelphia Wings vs. Albany Firewolves
Both teams took early penalties. Baptiste visited the box for holding, as did Kieran McArdle for delaying the game. By this point, Ben McIntosh and Connor Kelly knotted the game, 1-1. With McArdle in the box, Blaze Riorden recovered a loose ball at the crease and notched a powerplay goal, 2-1. Ending the quarter, Joe Resetarits notched his first of the game, making the score 3-1 in favor of Philadelphia.
The Wings went on a scoring run since the Riorden powerplay goal. Jones scored his first with his new club, recovering a rebound off the boards and following his shot. His play energized Resetarits, who scored the next two. Resetarits had a hat trick in the first half versus Albany. Sam LeClair scored another before the end of the half; 7-1.
Uninterrupted, the scoring run continued through the third quarter. The Firewolves committed two penalties for holding and tripping. The first penalty, by Brett Manney, resulted in a powerplay goal by Jones. Riorden added another, a rebound goal at the crease. After three quarters, Philadelphia led 9-1.
Albany showed late signs of life in the fourth quarter. Kelly and John LaFontaine both finished with two goals. Colton Watkinson also tallied one on a breakaway. Justin Geddie replaced Doug Jamieson in the net. LeClair, McIntosh, Resetarits, and Matt Rambo accounted for the Wings scoring in the fourth, totaling a 13-5 final.
A Home Win
Over the last few weeks, the Philadelphia Wings weren’t clicking. In the second half, they fell behind their opponents on scoring streaks. This time, they were on the right side of the scoring.
“Our biggest positive tonight is you put a plan in and you follow it. At some point, you got to be flexible, and guys were flexible with what we had to do in the fourth quarter.”Paul Day; 2/4/2023
Adding Jones helped the offense produce on the road to a victory, influencing a goaltender swap from the Albany Firewolves.
“I just got here, but the feeling is a little underachieving; not quite happy where we are record-wise or performance-wise.”Mitch Jones; 2/4/2023
Finishing the homestand with a victory is critical. If the Wings can take this energy to the road, we’re talking about a turnaround in the 2022-2023 campaign.
The Mitch Jones Effect
Out of the gate, we saw how Jones affected the team. A curious acquisition at first, but Day seems satisfied with his team’s winning performance.
“What we need on our powerplay is a quarterback. He [Jones] can score, but he’s going to make people better out there. We’re pretty fortunate to be able to trade for him.”Paul Day; 2/4/2023
Philadelphia went 3/5 on the powerplay. Jones and Resetarits were the usual suspects, combining for a goal and an assist each in the second half. Riorden began the powerplay push in the first quarter.
“Any time you bring someone like that in, that’s going to give you a boost. His leadership, and obviously his skill, but just how smart he is and that veteran presence; knowing the game like the back of his hand, that’s something we needed.”Joe Resetarits; 2/4/2023
It’s worth noting that Resetarits had eight points (4G, 4A) versus Albany, but Jones and McIntosh had five points (2G, 3A) for second most on the evening.
The Philadelphia Wings don’t play for another thirteen days. They’ll be on the road on Saturday, February 18th, 2023, against the Buffalo Bandits, hoping to avenge an earlier home loss. The faceoff is scheduled that night for 7:30pm.
(Photo Credit/Alex McIntyre)