The Wings opened their 2021-22 National Lacrosse League season at home on Saturday night against the Panther City Lacrosse club, the NLL’s newest expansion team.
Panther City started strong, scoring the first goal in their franchise’s history just over a minute into the game, and took a 7-4 lead into the locker room at halftime. In the second half, the Wings flipped the script: they scored five goals in the span of just over five minutes to take a 9-7 lead. Then, after a three goal Panther City run in the fourth, Brett Hickey‘s tying goal sent the game into overtime with the score tied 11-11. In overtime, a quick face-off win by Trevor Baptiste followed by a timeout by Paul Day was enough to set the stage for Matt Rambo to score the game winner just 23 seconds into overtime.
Panther City made the most of their opportunities in the first quarter, five separate players scored for the Lacrosse Club. Goals from Corey Small and Cory Vitarelli kept the Wings in it going into the second quarter down 5-2. For the rest of the first half, every time the Wings scored, Panther City had an answer. The teams left the field at halftime with the score 7-4 in favor of the visitors.
In the third quarter, the Wings turned the game around and showed just how much potential their offense has. In the first 5:22 of the second half, they scored 5 goals, including Ben McIntosh‘s first goal as a member of the Wings, and took a two goal lead. Taking a 10-9 lead into the fourth quarter, the offensive tempo of the game slowed down. Panther City put in a pair of goals to take the lead, but Brett Hickey’s tying goal with just over five minutes remaining turned out to be the last goal in regulation, sending the game to overtime.
Trevor Baptiste was dominant throughout the night, going 25/27 from the X. But perhaps his most important face-off win came at the start of overtime. After securing the ball, the Wings called timeout, and all it took was one possession for Matt Rambo to end the game.
Brett Hickey led the Wings in scoring, with 3 goals and 5 assists, he sits at second in scoring in the NLL. Ben McIntosh had 2 goals and two assists in his Philadelphia debut, including a highlight reel dunk goal that secured the #5 spot in SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays for Saturday.
The Wings are back in action at the Wells Fargo Center this Friday at 7:30 when they host the New York Riptide!