NLL: Philadelphia upsets the odds over Vegas

Philadelphia Wings @ Las Vegas Desert Dogs, January 6, 2023. (Photo credit: Candice Ward)

The Philadelphia Wings flew into Vegas to take on the Las Vegas Desert Dogs Friday night. Or, perhaps, it was Ben McIntosh who flew into Vegas to take on the Las Vegas Desert Dogs. And take them on he did. The Wings stunned the Desert Dogs with a 14-9 victory that would not have been possible without a five-goal effort from McIntosh.

Las Vegas sniped the first goal with New Jersey’s own Connor Kirst powering one in. Kirst’s family was in attendance at the game and took over the Desert Dogs Instagram for the day.  Shortly thereafter, Ben McIntosh, with a pass from Matt Rambo, found the upper corner of the net to tie the game. Not to be outdone, Joe Resetarits popped one in. Both Wings goals came on the power play. Rob Hellyer replied for Vegas. However, Trevor Baptiste answered that goal, winning the faceoff and taking the ball to the net. Fifty-three seconds later, McIntosh popped another goal in. The end of the first was 4-2 Philadelphia, and the tension mounted.

The second quarter saw the Desert Dogs hungry for more. They outscored the Wings with goals from Zach Greer; Erik Turner, who made SportsCenter’s Top 10 with a BTB goal; and Emerson Clark, who redeemed himself for three earlier penalties. Clark, from Whitby, Ontario, was playing in his first professional lacrosse game as a 30-year-old rookie.

But, the Desert Dogs could not stop the bite of Ben McIntosh, who added another goal. With a 5-5 halftime tie, it was going to come down to a second-half battle.

The third quarter was dominated by Philadelphia, who outscored Las Vegas 6-3. More players scored for Philadelphia, including Blaze Riorden and Kiel Matisz. Seemingly taking offense to the fact that he hadn’t scored again, Ben McIntosh added another in the quarter. Scoring for Las Vegas was Hellyer, Jack Hannah and Jacob Ruest. Philadelphia brought its 11-8 lead into the last quarter of play.

The last quarter featured little offense as the Wings outscored the Desert Dogs 3-1. Rambo and Resetarits scored for Philly, and of course, Macintosh scored again for his fifth of the game.

Surprisingly, the Wings shot less than the Desert Dogs and still pulled off the win. They also struggled with penalties. They were fortunate that Las Vegas could not turn those penalty minutes into goals. And not surprising was the continued dominant play of Zach Higgins with his 42 saves. Philadelphia next battles Panther City while Las Vegas will square up against Vancouver.