FIREWOLVES TAKE WILD CARD, SEASON SERIES WITH WINGS

Written by “Muffler” Mike Kostiuk

Lax Philly – A Division of Edge of Philly Sports Network

The Albany FireWolves hosted the Philadelphia Wings at MVP Arena Saturday night in a must-win game for both teams. The teams previously met in Philadelphia in mid-January, with Albany prevailing 9-8. A win for the Wings would not only knock Albany out of the playoff picture, but possibly move Philadelphia into the #4 seed in the East Division. It looked like that scenario would happen through 25 minutes of game time. The FireWolves flipped that script, using an unanswered 9-goal run over the remainder of the game to turn a 4-2 deficit into an 11-5 win.

Nitty Gritty

Matt Rambo (2g; 1:27) opened the scoring a minute and a half into the game. Corey Small (1g, 1a; 3:06) added a power-play marker to make it 2-0 Wings. Fifty seconds later, Joe Resetarits (4g, 3a) began his big night, taking a feed from Greg Downing and beating Wings goalie Zach Higgins. Nine minutes of scoreless action followed before Kevin Crowley (1g, 1a; 13:05) pushed Philadelphia’s lead back to two to close the first quarter.

Ryan Benesch (1g, 2a; 1:41) scored on a power play to open the second quarter and cut the lead back to one. Kyle Jackson (2:36) pushed the Wings lead back to two before Andrew Kew (1g, 2a; 10:26) responded to make it 4-3 Wings at the half.

A Flight Grounded

Kew’s second quarter goal would be the first of nine straight goals for Albany, as the Wings offense inexplicably disappeared at halftime. Resetarits (1:30) would tie the game with his second of the night to start the second half. After another long scoreless stretch, Adrian Sorichetti (12:26) struck in transition to give the FireWolves their first lead of the game.

Following Sorichetti’s goal, tempers flared when Crowley hit Albany defenseman John LaFontaine a bit too high, leaving LaFontaine on the floor for several minutes. Adam Bomberry retaliated, drawing a dead-ball foul that was negated 20 seconds later when Crowley was penalized during Philadelphia’s power play. LaFontaine would return to the game.

The fourth quarter was all FireWolves. Reilly O’Connor (1g, 1a; 2:01) threaded a bouncer five-hole, followed by the hat-trick for Resetarits (2:57). Jacob Ruest (3:40) extended the lead to four, before Resetarits (6:32) notched his fourth goal of the evening. Tony Malcom (1g, 1a; 9:02) added another marker in transition, then Tanner Thomson (1g, 1a; 13:33) scored on an empty net to make it 11-4.

Saturday Night’s All Right

Following Thomson’s goal, the pot boiled over when Albany players confronted Crowley, still upset over his third quarter hit on LaFontaine. Albany defender Mike Byrne and Wings defender Eric Shewell got into a satisfying brawl, while Bomberry earned a double-minor for roughing in the process. Rambo closed out a dismal second half for the Wings with a power-play goal with just three seconds remaining in the game.

“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk

“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk was formally introduced to box lacrosse when he attended a New England Black Wolves game on a whim in 2016. Instantly hooked with the game, he has since become an avid follower of the National Lacrosse League. Following the postponement of the 2019-2020 NLL season, Lax Philly founders Kevin Neibauer and Gary Groob offered Muffler the chance to share his wealth of statistical knowledge and unique insights with the lacrosse community at large. He cheerfully accepted, and currently serves as Lax Philly’s correspondent for both the Albany FireWolves and New York Riptide.

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