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.
Kevin has followed and promoted the game of lacrosse since May 19, 1974.
The same day the Philadelphia Flyers won the Cup, the Philadelphia Wings were introduced to Neibauer and Philadelphia.
Kevin has covered many sports, including baseball, football, basketball, and.. lacrosse. A former licensed football referee and baseball umpire, Kevin brings a unique insight to his game coverage.
A published writer in JustHockey Magazine, Kevin covered the American Hockey League as well as a monthly story on a pugilist where Kevin used the pen name, The Rink Rat. Neibauer turned his attentions to lacrosse for a few years and does his part, whether podcasting or writing to grow the game. Kevin branched out to his roots and currently provides insight for all Philadelphia teams for Edge of Philly as well as his full-time duties with LaxPhilly.