Atlanta, GA – The Philadelphia Wings concluded their inaugural season in the National Lacrosse League with their first road win Saturday night, leading nearly wire-to-wire in a 19-14 win over the Georgia Swarm.
In addition to typical nights from their big offensive weapons – Matt Rambo, Josh Currier and Kiel Matisz all had six-point nights, while Kevin Crowley and Jordan Hall each had five – the Wings got some offense from secondary sources as well. Dylan Evans scored his first goal of the season and recorded his second multi-point game, while Matthew Bennett’s goal and two assists equaled his entire six-game output with the Wings to this point of the season. Vaughn Harris scored his ninth and 10th goals of the season with his first two-goal game since December, and Justin Guterding once again took advantage of his opportunity to get in the lineup – he picked up a goal and three assists, giving him his third game of three or more points in just four games played this year.
And it was a historic night, as Trevor Baptiste won 29 of his 37 faceoffs to set a new National Lacrosse League record for faceoff wins in a season by a comfortable margin. Baptiste headed into the game needing just six wins to set the record, and he had that done by the end of the first quarter.
The Wings only trailed in the game for 21 seconds and only went the first 2:30 of the game without holding the lead. After Georgia opened the scoring 1:31 into the contest, Hall answered 21 seconds later to tie the score. That was the start of a 6-0 run that saw the Wings take a 6-1 lead in just under nine minutes. The flurry included goals from Evans and Harris just 26 seconds apart, the first of three for Currier and was then punctuated by a shorthanded goal by Kiel Matisz.
Georgia scored the next four – two late in the first and two more early in the second – to pull within a goal at 6-5 2:42 into the second quarter. Then after some back-and-forth scoring, the Swarm were within two goals at 9-7. But Bennett touched off another Wings run of three goals that gave them a 12-7 halftime lead, and Currier’s third just 3:59 into the third quarter made it a six-goal cushion. Philadelphia then picked up four of the next six goals to lead 17-9 after the third quarter.
But the Swarm did not go quietly, charging out with four straight goals to start the final quarter. With 4:16to play, Georgia had closed the gap to 17-13. The Wings quelled that effort when Steph Charbonneau and Crowley scored 1:24 apart to slow the momentum, and the Wings only yielded one Georgia tally the rest of the way.
Gowah Abrams made his first start for the Wings and went the distance, stopping 41 of 55 shots for his first career NLL win.
The Wings close their season with a record of 4-14.