STRONG DEFENSIVE EFFORT PUSHES WINGS PAST BUFFALO
The Buffalo Bandits were the National Lacrosse League’s highest-scoring entering the weekend, but goaltender Zach Higgins and the Philadelphia Wings defense kept Buffalo off the board for more than 26 minutes in the middle of Saturday’s road tilt at KeyBank Arena, which allowed the Wings to outlast the Bandits 7-6. The Wings allowed just one goal in each of the first three quarters, while Buffalo’s Josh Byrne, who was second in the NLL with 23 goals entering the contest and took 19 shots in the game, was kept off the scoreboard until he scored his only tally with 1:36 left in the game.
Liam Patten started the game off with a goal 2:14 into the contest; Buffalo equalized 30 seconds later, but Matt Rambo scored exactly 30 seconds after that and it was 2-1 at the end of the first quarter.
After JP Kealey tied the score at 2-2 with 3:53 gone in the second quarter, the Bandits didn’t score again until Corey Small scored with 51 seconds left in the third quarter. In between, the Wings built their lead to 6-2 on goals from Brett Hickey, Rambo, Kevin Crowley and Blaze Riorden. Small’s tally made it 6-3 after three periods.
Brett Hickey scored his second goal of the night 2:35 into the fourth quarter to make it 7-3; as it turned out, the Wings were done scoring after that. Buffalo creeped closer on two more goals by Small and then Byrne’s late tally, but Higgins and the defense stood tall the rest of the way.
Higgins, who played for Buffalo last season, made 38 saves on 44 Buffalo shots to earn the win. Matt Vinc took the loss with the same amount of saves on 45 Philly bids.
Crowley (1G, 2A) and Hickey (2G, 1A) both led the Wings with three points, while Crowley also had 13 shots on goal. Stef Charbonneau grabbed 10 loose balls, and Trevor Baptiste won 14 of the game’s 17 faceoffs.
The Wings move to 6-3 on the season and are back in action Sunday night when they visit the New England Black Wolves at 5:00 in an East Division showdown. The game will be streamed live on BR Live (www.brlive.com). The next home game is on February 22 when the Wings host Saskatchewan on E-Sports Night at the Wells Fargo Center. Tickets for that and all Wings home games are available at WingsLAX.com.
Game Highlight Melt