If the Philadelphia Wings (7-8) hope to achieve the playoffs, a few ingredients will need to be addressed. Goaltending, check. Leaders stepping up, check. Zach Higgins, after a less than stellar performance against Buffalo, turned away 43 of the 48 New York Riptide (4-9) shots. Leadership, check. The tandem of Kevin Crowley and Kiel Matisz supplied leadership with a combined 13 points. Wings with pressure win.
So Let’s Get to It
As murky as the playoff picture had been, it got murkier with the action thus far. Despite things looking grim after the Buffalo defeat, the 11-5 victory brightened the day for Philadelphia. The Wings took flight with a quick 3-0 outburst. Kyle Jackson (2g,3a) keeps Philadelphia fans wondering why Jackson was shipped out of Halifax
Jackson hit net at the 5:54 mark and Philadelphia seemed sparked by the goal. Ten seconds later, the Matisz-Crowley show kicked off. Crowley (3g,4a) deposited a set-up from Blaze Riorden and Matisz. Forty-eight seconds elapsed and Matisz (2g,4a) took his turn on a high-speed setup from Sam LeClair and Jackson.
The three markers came in just under a minute. The goal frenzy kept going with Tyler Digby (1g) scoring on the man up at 7:45 to cut the deficit to 3-1. Neither team would score again for 5:15 when Corey Vittarelli (1g,2a) pushed it 4-1. It stayed that way until 13:38 when Crowley buried the work of Matisz and the first NLL point from Jackson Subodh.
Larson Sundown (1g) played ‘Beat the Clock” and ended the wild opening quarter with one second remaining and a 5-2 lead for Philadelphia. How dominant were Crowley and Matisz? Crowley scored twice with an assist. Matisz put up one goal with four helpers.
Things settled down in the second. Four goals evenly spread would be all the offense. Jeff Teat got his first of three helpers and, along with Connor Kearnan helped to get it 5-3 with Callum Crawford (1g,1a) scoring at 2:35. Crowley from John Ranagan (2a) made it a 6-3 affair. Nine minutes of scoreless play was snapped by LeClair (1g,2a) but, at 14:38 Teat and Kieran McArdle (1a) did the work for Connor Kearnan (1g,1a) to close the half with New York looking at a 7-4 deficit.
To the Third
If you thought the second quarter was a defensive battle…wait until the third. It took 12:31 for a lamp to be lit. Crowley and Jackson continued their hot hands with Riorden (2g,1a) being on the receiving end to push it to an 8-4 Philly lead.
The defensive battle continued. Matisz at 1:16 and Andrew Borgatti (1g) putting home a Steven Orleman outlet at 8:43 changed the scoreboard to 9-5. Philadelphia’s defense and Zach Higgins slammed the door on New York from that point on. Crowley added one more helper on Riorden’s second goal and since he started the scoring in the game, Jackson ended the scoring for the important 11-5 Philadelphia victory.
Philadelphia sees a brighter light at the end of the playoff road. Two spots in the East have been secured by perennial playoff teams, Buffalo and Toronto. The third spot getting crowded with Halifax, Albany and Philadelphia battling.
Shots on Goal revealed a 48-45 New York advantage. Another big contributor was Trevor Baptiste who had an outstanding game with 13 of 18 from the dot while scooping a game-high 16 loose balls.• Loose balls leaned heavily to the Riptide, 87-65. Steven Orleman had 34 saves in the New York cage with Higgins posting his 43. Philadelphia travels West to take on the San Diego Seals on April 8th. Wing with the pressure win. Wings keep their post-season hopes alive.
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.