What a Way to Start a Season

After over 600 days, the National Lacrosse League finally opened their doors.

Two spanking new broadcast deals and excitement from almost every game.

Oh Yeah? Tell Me More..

A jam packed seven game weekend schedule had six games on Saturday.

How is this for parity? Three overtime games and four one goal games.

The fun started Friday with Thriller number one. Vancouver was one goal better than the San Diego Seals by a score of 8-7.

What About Saturday?

I am glad you asked. Halifax was one better than Saskatechwan, 12-11, Toronto bested Albany, 10-9 and the Philadelphia Wings benefitted from a late game collapse and a plethora of power play goals to sneak out a 12-11 overtime goal from Matt Rambo.

Let’s Get to That Shall We…

Panther City received the first goal in their history when Travis Cornwall (1g) put one past Philly netminder, Zach Higgins with just 1:06 played.

A minute and eight seconds later, Ryan Benesch (2g, 2a) doubled the lead.

A new addition to the high-powered Philadelphia offense, Corey Small (1g, 4a) converted a Brett Hickey and Kevin “Big Cat” Crowley (4a) set up to move the score to 2-1.

Panther City countered with Liam Patten (1g) netting a transition goal to get it 3-1.

Corey Vitarelli (2g) answered at the 11:47 mark at the battle was on.

Nathan Grenon (1g, 1a) buried a pretty feed from Phil Caputo and Ryan Benesch to get it back to two goal edge for Panther City.

Mike Triolo (1g, 3a) closed the first quarter in Panther City history and a 5-2 lead.

Philly Didn’t Expect That.

The second quarter was more of a defensive battle with each team alternating goals.

Player of the Game,Brett Hickey (3g, 6a) lit the lamp at 3:11 with helpers from Matt Rambo and Captain, Kiel Matisz (1a).

Tony Malcolm (1g, 3a) had an answer before Hickey buried a Kevin Crowley, Steph Charbonneau set up to keep the deficit at two.

With forty seconds left in the stanza, Phil Caputo lit the lamp to close the half with the upstart Panther City seemingly in charge, 7-4.

A Tale of Two Halves

Whatever GM/Head Coach Paul Day said at the break, made a big difference.

Vitarelli, and second new weapon, Ben McIntosh (2g,2a), Blaze Riorden (1g,1a) and McIntosh with his second, flipped the disadvantage into an 8-7 advantage.

Caputo evened the score but, Matt Rambo put Philly back in front with a pair, the second on the man up which was the third of the quarter.

Benesch closed it 10-9 with :21 seconds to play and the partial Philadelphia faithfull were on edge.

For the Dramatic Flair

It seemingly came down to “who wants it more”.

Patrick Dodds (1g, 4a) planted a set up from, who else? Benesch and Triolo followed by a Josh Medeiros (1g) shorthanded tally, and with 8:18 played, Panther City had a swagger and an 11-10 advantage.

With a flair for the dramatic, Small and Rambo found Hickey for the neutralizer at 9:48.

Neither team could hit net and they went to overtime.

It took only :23 for Rambo to come off the far side to the middle and beat Kevin Orleman to sent the Wings fans to the parking g lot in a good mood.

Post Game Schtuff

Shots favored Philly, 47-40 with Zach Higgins turning away 29 for Philadelphia.

We mave have witnessed the burgeoning of a new superstar

Kevin Orleman was outstanding the Panther City nets with his 35 saves and 19 loose balls.

Gary Groob
Gary Groob

Gary Groob has been involved with Lacrosse for the majority of his life, whether playing, coaching, or covering the sport for the media.

An avid fan, with a real drive about helping to “grow the game”, Gary became part of podcasts about the game in 2010. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob was given an opportunity to write about lacrosse, and the rest as they say, is history.

Through many miles (flying and driving) Gary has made inroads with the National Lacrosse League, Major Series Lacrosse League, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, as well as the Arena Lacrosse League, covering the leagues, their teams, and players, working for, and in concert with all of them.

In the year 2020, Mr. Groob was made the media person for the Arena Lacrosse League, voted onto the board of directors of the Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club, as well as being made administrator of the Lacrosse page “Global Lacrosse” with a membership of 9000 members in over 90 Countries. Gary was also made an administrator of Lacrosse History Past Present and Future in 2022.

Mr. Groob co-hosts a weekly Lacrosse show on Spanglish Sports World, and ZingoTV channel 250, as well as writes a weekly lacrosse column for La Portada Canada News (both in print, and online).

Gary also hosts a Lacrosse talk show and podcast for The Edge of Philly Sports Network, seen live Sunday nights at 9pm (ET), and archived on the Edge of Philly YouTube page, as well as Spotify.

Mr. Groob’s other sports interests include Hockey, Football, Boxing, Wrestling, and Baseball, competing competitively in Boxing and Wrestling for many years.