Kevin Crowley put on a show Friday night at Wells Fargo Center, tucking a highlight-reel behind-the-back goal among his four and adding nine assists to help the Wings outdistance the New York Riptide 14-12 to go to 2-0 on the young NLL season. Corey Small had a five-goal game and added three assists to further pace the offense, while Brett Hickey scored a pair and led the team with 13 shots on goal.
Trevor Baptiste won 19 of 30 faceoffs, including several that gave Philadelphia the possessions necessary to quell a pesky Riptide team that wouldn’t go away every time the Wings started to grow their lead.
New York started the proceedings with a goal just 15 seconds in from Connor Kearnan, but the Wings quickly settled down after that and scored the next three tallies – first from Crowley on the power play, followed by goals from Matt Rambo and Brett Hickey. Callum Crawford picked up his first shorthanded with just over two minutes to go, but Small answered that with a goal on the same power play go make it 4-2 after one quarter.
The teams more or less traded blows in the second quarter, with the Wings outscoring New York 4-3. Scott Dominey’s goal 3:09 into the frame was answered by Crowley 20 seconds later, and Small made it 6-3 less than three minute later. Over the rest of the frame, Brett Hickey and Cory Vitarelli offset a pair of Kieran McArdle goals, and the Flyers led 8-5 at halftime.
After the back-and-forth continued for the first 10 minutes of the third period, New York pulled back even with three straight goals at the end of the frame. Crawford scored during a two-man advantage at 12:02 of the third, and Kearnen scored on the subsequent 5-on-4 power play at 12:46. Then with less than two seconds left, Crawford tied the score at 11-11 entering the fourth quarter.
But after nearly seven minutes of scoreless lacrosse to start the fourth quarter, the Wings broke the tie on a power play goal by Small. Crowley then effectively put the momentum in the Wings’ side for good when he took a feed from Blaze Riorden and scored a behind-the-back goal with just under seven minutes to go. Crawford grabbed one at the 8:42 mark, but Small finished out the scoring with his fifth at the 9:47 mark.
Zach Higgins made 36 saves to anchor the Wings, including allowing only one goal in the crucial fourth quarter.
The Wings return to action on the road December 18 at Toronto in a 7PM start. They’ll return to Wells Fargo Center on Saturday, January 8 for a 12pm contest with the Georgia Swarm.