Wings at Thunderbirds: Preview, Odds, How to Watch

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

Two weeks ago, the Philadelphia Wings (1-2) dropped their home opener to the Albany Fire Wolves, 15-10. Neither team could break away until the third quarter. Alex Simmons and Nathan Grenon scored a pair of goals to pull away.

Taite Cattoni remained a constant throughout the game, notching a powerplay assist, a shorthanded goal, and two more points during even-strength play (1G, 1A). Still missing Holden Cattoni (upper body) and Blaze Riorden (upper body), the Wings will be without Curtis Romanchych (lower body). Ryan Wagner is denoted as questionable (lower body). Ian Llord echoed this sentiment from Paul Day after the loss to the Fire Wolves:

“Everybody’s got to step up. That’s something Paul’s [Day] said, too. When guys of that caliber drop out of your lineup, everybody’s got to step up. I think we’re still waiting on the guy next to us to do a better job. We’re following that at the results were there. That’s a really good, well coached, young team and they kicked our ass.”

Ian Llord; 12/16/2023

Tonight, Philadelphia takes the show back on the road. How do they measure to the Halifax Thunderbirds (2-0)?

Halifax Thunderbirds

Mike Accursi and the Thunderbirds are undefeated.

Halifax began the NLL Faceoff Weekend, exploding for a nine-goal first quarter of the regular season versus the Saskatchewan Rush. Similarly, they were off to a five-goal hot start against the New York Riptide, a familiar opponent between the Thunderbirds and Wings.

Randy Staats, Cody Jamieson, Colton Armstrong, and Clarke Petterson were critical to those incendiary starts. Petterson took charge during the nine-goal outburst, but in the following contest against the Riptide, Halifax required more of a group effort to mount a lead.

Petterson is lethal. He leads the Thunderbirds in goals scored and total points after two games. On the powerplay, he is a playmaker. The prime target with the man advantage is Jamieson. Trustworthy with the ball, Petterson doesn’t turn possession over often, keeping defenses honest in the offensive zone.

At the faceoff stripe, Jake Withers is 34/43 (79%). He also leads Halifax in ground ball recoveries. The faceoff stripe is not a strong suit for Philadelphia through three games, making this a key to victory for Accursi.

Warren Hill secured both victories for the Thunderbirds. Hill saved 65/83 shots on goal for a 78%SV, allowing 9GAA. Drew Hutchison will back up Hill.

Philadelphia Wings

Day and the Wings have an opportunity to square their record.

Philadelphia didn’t choose their shots wisely versus Albany. At even strength, the offense and defense were poor. Usually, the lineup plays a more stable, balanced game in five-on-five scenarios. However, Day stressed transition play often at the beginning of the season. The battle facing his forwards and transition players comes when deciding to jam down the field or when to slow the tempo and cycle the ball.

Once, the Wings scored more than three goals in a quarter this season. In the third quarter on Long Island, Riorden had an influence, accounting for two of those goals. The offense is spinning wheels in the mud. There are thousands of miles left in this 2023-2024 NLL season, and Joe Resetarits has to become a catalyst. He and Mitch Jones shouldered weight versus the Fire Wolves, totaling six points each.

Scott Dominey, Chad Tutton, and Alex Pace will be called upon to stabilize even-strength lacrosse for Philadelphia. For Pace, tied for the team lead in forced turnovers, this game could be considered a homecoming for the Halifax native. Tutton and Dominey are deadlocked with Jones for the team lead in loose ball recoveries. Dominey, versus Albany, tied Mike McCannell in forced turnovers and ground ball recoveries, engaging defensively.

Isiah Davis-Allen has been the primary at the faceoff stripe for the Wings since the departure of Trevor Baptiste. He is struggling, winning 18/70 (25.7%). Davis-Allen does make his presence felt when he forces turnovers, keeping up with Pace in that aspect this season. When in the defensive zone, Davis-Allen and Pace must slow down Halifax, especially in the first half.

Zach Higgins made each start, securing his only win against the Riptide. Higgins saved 118/151 shots on goal for a 78.1%SV, allowing 12.1GAA. Deacon Knott, who will back up Higgins, played 16:44 versus the Fire Wolves, saved 11/14 shots on goal for a 78.5%SV, allowing 10.7GAA.

Place Your Bets (via Bet365)

Philadelphia Wings (+200)
Halifax Thunderbirds (-275)
Joe Resetarits over 4.5pts (-140)
Mitch Jones over 4.5pts (-150)

Game Information

The Philadelphia Wings visit the Halifax Thunderbirds tonight at 6:30pm at the Scotiabank Centre. The telecast is available on ESPN+.

(Photo Credit/Alex McIntyre)