The Philadelphia Wings (4-1) hosted the Rochester Knighthawks (1-4) at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA for what was a dominant night not just for the Wings in general but also for goaltender Zach Higgins. The Wings would start with the first goal of the game, but that wouldn’t come until more than halfway of the 1st quarter as Trevor Baptiste would score unassisted with 5:54 left in the first quarter. That would prove to be the one and only goal of the first quarter as Zach Higgins was perfect for the first quarter regarding saves. Before the end of the first quarter a fight broke out, which was one of many during this action pack- physical game.
The second quarter was slightly better but still a low scoring game. The Nighthawks would score first 2 minutes within the quarter. Their goal was scored by Holden Cattoni. The Wings would respond with a quick goal from Brett Hickey. The Wings would continue by taking advantage of a penalty with Kevin Crowley scoring the goal. But just like the Wings, Rochester would have the same advantage from an illegal cross check from Baptiste thus the Nighthawks would make the score 3-2, the goal was from Sean Adams. The Wings would score the next three goals to close out the 1st half. The first goal was from Hickey which was right after Rochester was called for boarding. The 2nd and 3rd goal was from Cory Vitarelli making the score 6-2 heading into the 2nd half.
The second half proved to be much more exciting (at least for the Wings side) and much more physical. First of all, Rochester did not score for the entire 3rd quarter, they in fact did not score for about 26 minutes straight in the 2nd half of the game. Zach Higgins was that dominant in the net but even during press conference, he said his defense has some credit for stopping them and preventing open shots. That was even with a goal scored by Rochester but was called back as the player was within the crease. The only two goals of the 3rd quarter came from Wings’ Kiel Matisz and Josh Currier.
The 4th quarter the Wings turned up the goal scoring. The first goal came from Crowley who would score from a penalty shot. Matisz had the second shot, because the Nighthawks were called for 2 roughing penalties, but he missed thus making the score 9-2 Wings winning. Brett Hickey would score the next 3 goals for the Wings. Rochester would score 2 more goals, one from Curtis Knight and the other from Phil Caputo but the damage was already done and the Wings would win 12-4. But the Wings wouldn’t just win the game, they would also win the fights. Within the last 5 minutes of the 4th quarter, there was almost 5 fights that would break out. Most of them from instigator Shawn Evans on Rochester but there was obvious frustration from the Nighthawks who then took it out on the field. The Wings would retaliate multiple times throughout the final quarter. But at one point there was 5 players in the box on both teams.
The Wings would improve to 5-1 with this win while the Rochester Nighthawks would fall to 1-5 for the season so far. The Wings would host another home game in less than a week on Friday January 24th against the New York Riptide at the Wells Fargo Center.
Eric Williamson is the host of the Union podcast Full Time Philly and also contrinutes to many of the Union coverage. He is a huge fan of all the 4 major Philly teams on top of music too.