Over the last month, the Philadelphia Wings played three games. They defeated the Albany Firewolves, lost to the Buffalo Bandits in overtime, then battled the New York Riptide this weekend.
Saturday began a heavier schedule, hosting the Riptide two days before the Toronto Rock comes to the Wells Fargo Center.
The Wings were 1-1 through February. Could they secure a victory versus New York before battling the Rock tomorrow? Here’s how it all went down on Saturday in South Philadelphia:
Philadelphia Wings vs. New York Riptide
Joe Resetarits and Ben McIntosh jump-started the Wings in the first quarter, accounting for three goals. With a 3-1 lead, the Riptide alternated goals with Philadelphia until the opening quarter expired. Jeff Teat and Mitch Jones led their teams in points, setting the stage for their performances in the first. Alex Crepinsek finished the quarter with a one-timer, keeping a two-goal lead, 5-3.
The physicality and overall chippiness of the game pick up before halftime. Both teams tallied back-to-back goals, changing from the alternating scoring pattern from the first quarter. McIntosh scored another for the Wings, but then New York scored back-to-back, featuring a powerplay goal by Larson Sundown. Philadelphia secured the momentum before halftime with a back-to-back scoring sequence, including a contribution from Matt Rambo. Jones finished the scoring in the second half but took a late hit for his effort, which Chad Tutton didn’t appreciate as he stood up for his teammate.
Jones scored a hat-trick in the third quarter alone, bringing his goal total to five, including a marker on the powerplay. Additionally, Resetarits and McIntosh completed their hat-trick bids. The Wings outscored the Riptide each quarter, but the effort between those three came to a crescendo. Blaze Riorden and McIntosh both had a powerplay goal to accompany Jones. Going into the final quarter, Philadelphia led 15-9.
Connor Kearnan quietly scored four goals in the second half. His effort was recognizable, but the attention stayed with Jones and his fourteen-point (6G, 8A) performance. Jones, Resetarits, and McIntosh left an impression each quarter. Riorden added a second powerplay goal to top it off in the fourth. All was over but the fighting, where Eric Shewell finished the job.
The Wings never looked back after establishing a lead in the first quarter, defeating New York 19-12.
Scoring Confidence (+)
The Philadelphia Wings are one of three NLL teams that played just nine games in 2022-2023. Once they catch up in the heavy portion of their schedule, the offensive and defensive rankings will take shape.
However, nineteen goals meant confidence from the offense. Jones, Resetarits, and McIntosh all performed well. Rambo added another, and Riorden helped the powerplay find a groove. It seems the confidence on offense kept the pace from the overtime loss to the Buffalo Bandits, then turned the corner versus the New York Riptide.
That confidence is critical. The Toronto Rock presents a real test, which the Wings have yet to pass.
Zach Higgins (+)
I asked coach Paul Day about providing Zach Higgins with rest on a short schedule. Day didn’t consider putting Angus Goodleaf into the contest, citing Higgins could carry the workload.
Higgins came up big in multiple sequences for Philadelphia. He kept the Riptide at minimal success on the powerplay. The Wings were 2/3 on the penalty kill.
A Budding Rivalry?
Ian Llord and Shewell both got into fights against New York in the final quarter. Philadelphia maintained a lead, and the Riptide didn’t want to leave the Wells Fargo Center without getting their shots in. Unfortunately for Brent Noseworthy, that plan wasn’t successful. Shewell caught Noseworthy on the button and threw him down on the floor before showing out for the Wings fans at the Wells Fargo Center, which he did take back in his postgame press conference.
Philadelphia visits New York this Saturday.
(Photo Credit/Alex McIntyre)