POULIN, SWARM STOP WINGS IN OPENER
The Philadelphia Wings started their 2019-20 National Lacrosse League season against one of the league’s stingiest teams so far in the Georgia Swarm, and saw Georgia’s defense continue that habit in a 12-6 setback. Kevin Crowley grabbed a pair of goals and posted a four-point game while leading the team with 10 shots on goal and 16 shot attempts, while four other Wings contributed on the evening. But Georgia goaltender Mike Poulin, who allowed just two goals in 50 minutes of action in his team’s season-opening win last time out, continued his stellar play into week 2 and now has a 4.32 goals-against average in his first two contests.
The teams started out evenly, with no scoring in the first seven minutes until Bryan Cole capitalized on Georgia’s first power-play opportunity at the 7:20 mark. Cory Vitarelli answered that tally with his first as a Wing at 11:45, but Randy Staats got it back a minute later to give Georgia a 2-1 lead after the first.
Georgia turned things around in the second quarter, starting just 27 seconds into the frame on a goal by Shayne Jackson. That was followed by two from Lyle Thompson – one just over a minute later, and another at the 6:03 mark. The Wings were able to pull back within two on consecutive tallies by Kevin Crowley and Matt Rambo just under two minutes apart, but a late one from former Wing Jordan Hall made it 6-3 Swarm at halftime.
Georgia furthered the distance with two quick goals from Jackson to start the third. After Crowley got his second of the game at the 8:31 mark, Thompson completed his hat trick with just under two minutes to go in the quarter to make it 9-4. Fourth-quarter tallies from Miles Thompson and then the fourth from Lyle Thompson made it 11-4; the Wings were then able to chip away at the deficit with a pair 21 seconds apart, first from Brett Hickey and then a highlight-reel goal from Kiel Matisz that made it 11-6, but could get no closer. Adam Wiedemann wrapped up the scoring with 1:38 to play.
Trevor Baptiste, who rewrote the NLL’s faceoff records last season, picked up where he left off by winning 17 of the game’s 22 faceoffs (77.3 pct). Hickey had two points in his first game since Week 3 of last season, and Matisz also had a four-point game with a goal and three assists. Baptiste, Crowley and Liam Patten all picked up eight loose balls, while Ryan Wagner was credited with two caused turnovers.
Zach Higgins took the loss with 35 saves on 47 shots; Brandon Miller made a quick appearance of 1:11 in the net, but didn’t face a shot. The Wings were 0-for-4 on the power play, while the Swarm were 3-for-5.
A full scoresheet for the game is available here: https://laxreports.sportlogiq.com/nll/GS2206.html
The Wings return to action in two weeks when they visit the Calgary Roughnecks on December 28 at 9:30 PM. The game will be broadcast via the NLL’s partnership with BR Live, accessible through the NLL website or WingsLAX.com. They’ll have one more road contest after that before returning to Philadelphia for the home opener on January 10 vs. Vancouver. Season ticket plans, three-game packages and single-game tickets are all available now at WingsLAX.com.
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