Wings Soar Above Riptide, 14-6

The expansion New York Riptide (1-6) made the trek to the Wells Fargo Center for a Friday evening contest. New York played Philadelphia (5-2) very tough in their first encounter in Long Island a few weeks ago. The Riptide secured its first win in a thriller against Georgia and had to have a sense of confidence coming into Philadelphia.

Two battles would be at the forefront with the battle of face-off specialists, Trevor Baptiste doing battle with Alex Woodall for New York. Alex Buque, the visitor’s netminder was going up against the hottest netminder in the NLL in Zach Higgins.

A crowd of 7183 was treated to an entertaining first quarter in which Higgins took center stage, stopping 15 of the 18 New York chances. Buque was not quite as good and surrendered 4 goals on 6 Philly shots.

At the 2:18 mark, Kevin Crowley (1g,6a) kicked the festivities off when he took a Brett Hickey feed and bull-rushed the net to put Philly up, 1-0. Isaiah Davis-Allen (1a) started a nice transition goal when he fended off a big hit and dished to Anthony Joaquim (1a) who hit Kiel Matisz (2g,4a) to double the lead with just 5:40 played. Scott Johnston was given a slashing minor and The Wings were in good shape to blow this one wide open. Ryan Fournier (1g) had other ideas and bagged an unassisted man-down goal to get the battle started.

Just 1:02 later, Andrew Suitor (1a) set your Tyler Digby (2g,2a) and the game was deadlocked, 2-2. Zach Higgins (1a) started a nifty transition goal with a long outlet to Ryan Wagner (1g) who converted off a nice spin move to put Philadelphia back in front, 3-2. Matisz went back to work with a pretty pass that Brett Hickey (5g,1a) buried behind Buque before Dan Lomas(1g) ended the first with New York battling back and trailing, 4-3.

The second stanza only witnessed three goals withJean-Luc Chetner (1g) using crafty passes from Travis Longboat (1a) and Tyson Gibson (2a) to get it knotted with just :31 played. The Philadelphia Dynamic Duo, Matt Rambo (1g, 2a) and goal scorer, Blaze Riorden (1 g,2a) gave Philly yet another lead at 5-4. New York would close the half at 5-5 with Digby lighting the lamp with just 1:35 to play.

Whatever Philly Coach Paul Day did or said in the break was taken to heart as Philadelphia stormed the Bastille in the second half. It started with Cory Vitarelli (3g) scoring on the man up, followed by Hickey, two minutes later and finally, Vitarelli pushed it to an 8-5 edge. Connor Kelly (1g,1a) stopped the deluge and gave New York life at 8-6 with 9:28 in the stanza. That would be where the Riptide was beached as Philadelphia and Higgins slammed the door.

Vitarelli nailed his hat trick to take Philadelphia to the final fifteen minutes holding the 9-6 lead. The outcome still very much in question, Philadelphia ripped off a five-goal run courtesy of Hickey, Rambo, Matisz and two more from Hickey to end the 16-10 game.

Dis and Dat: The Wings once again pitched a lengthy shutout and held New York scoreless for the final 24:28. Higgins, again was outstanding, stopping 51 of 57 shots and now has allowed an unworldly 18 goals in his last three games. Buque started slowly but warmed up a bit but was pulled after the 14th goal and finished with 55:17 played and stopping 33 of 47 shots.

Former Wing, Gowah Abrams played the final 4:43 stopping all 6 shots he faced. The loose ball battle was won by Philadelphia, 63-55. Trevor Baptiste and Alex Woodall were epic and Baptiste came away with a slight edge from the face-off dot, 13 for 24.

The victory marks the career-high wins for the second year Wings.

Coach Paul Day on post-game presser following the victory over New York Riptide.

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