NLL: FireWolves beat Wings in afternoon affair

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Albany FireWolves went on a midday hunt in Philadelphia on Saturday at noon. The FireWolves emerged from the prowl victorious, winning 9-8.The game featured a lot of hard hitting from both sides. It is clear that there is still no love lost between these two teams, the old Wings and the new Wings. And although the defensive players who were on the Covid list and Zach Higgins looked like they had collectively NOT been missed a step, Philadelphia’s offense could not say the same.The offense struggled to catch the ball and find the open net. And while they did score eight against Doug Jamieson, it was not enough for the win. Also struggling was Trevor Baptiste who an unusual went 7-21 at the faceoff dot. Philadelphia is used to Baptiste quickly winning the ball, or at least winning the majority of the time, but Joe Nardella got the best of him this time.New England capitalized on its rare defensive style that many opponents have a hard time adjusting to.

Wings’ head coach Paul Day focused on this after the game.

“Their defense is almost like a 2-1-2 zone so it is very difficult to play against,” he described. “Everyone else plays it a little different. It takes some time getting used to it.”

The Wings adjusted in the second half, with commenting that they did a much better job of being physical. Albany has adjusted to Ryan Benesch being added to the roster. It’s like he has been in Albany all along.  And when you factor his name into the mix of Joe Resetarits, a potent mix is created.  Resetarits contributed three goals and three assists. Despite the Wings double-teaming the ball when those two had it, they were still able to score. This also left teammates like Andrew Kew open, and he had two goals and four assists.

Corey Small led the Wings offensively, with four goals, including three in the second half as the Wings were able to tie the game 7-7 in the fourth before taking their foot off the gas.The Wings took this close loss as as a learning experience.

“Anyone can win in this league. When you’re hot, you’re hot. When you’re fighting it, you got to keep battling hard,” said goaltender Zach Higgins. “Tonight we had to keep battling to make sure we were still in the game. We ended up tying the game so it just shows what we got.”Philadelphia will draw on these lessons next weekend when they play two games in fewer than 25 hours.  They face Rochester on Saturday night and then play New York at 4 p.m. the next afternoon, with both games at Wells Fargo Center. Albany next faces the Thunderbirds on the 29th.