Tempers raged; fists flew. Words and gestures were exchanged. Boos for the players and the officials vibrated the stadium seats. It was like old school lacrosse was back in Philadelphia. And in a city that prides itself on being gritty, it was exactly what the Philadelphia Wings needed to beat the Rochester Knighthawks 18-10 in front of a boisterous crowd of over 6000.
The game started slowly for both teams. Tied 2-2 at the end of the first, Rochester appeared to wake up first in the second, scoring five goals to Philly’s three. And as Wings’ head coach Paul Day stated, he did not give a “rah rah thing at halftime,” but indicated that the players did what they needed to do – that they knew what they needed to do. And they set out to do just that.
He reflected on the victory as well as the solid effort from the team.
“It was good. It was a good feeling. We were real happy with the offense and with the defense. Higgy [Zach Higgins] was the real star of the game in the first quarter. Just really happy with the play and the composure.”
And keeping their composure was important for the Wings as Shawn Evans seemed to get into their heads at the beginning of the game. Evans had the first three assists for Rochester and recorded his 800th assist in this game. He was all over the floor and made Philadelphia keep an eye on him. This allowed guys like Thomas Hoggarth to shine. Hoggarth ended with three goals and two assists, Holden Cattoni had two goals and one assist and Turner Evans had two goals.
The proverbial wheels seemed to come off the wagon in the third quarter for Rochester and the problems coupled with undisciplined play continued into the fourth. Philadelphia outscored Rochester 8-1 in the third, and this is when the game began getting chippy. The game had 60 minutes of penalty time including several scuffles at the end. Evans seemed to relish his time both in the box and on the field when fans began to single him out. He entertained the fans and, apparently, the fans entertained him.
Also entertaining was the goal scoring for Philadelphia. Ben Mcintosh had a hat trick and two assists. Kevin Crowley had two goals and seven assists while six other players each had two goals, including Trevor Baptiste who also had a solid transition game.
“We we’re battling early on there. We were generating good looks, but they just weren’t falling,” said Crowley. “We knew they’re eventually going to go in. And you saw it in the third quarter early on and it was great to see these guys get their milestones.”
The milestones he was speaking about were for Kiel Matisz, who recorded his 300th career assist; Trevor Baptiste, who picked up his 700th career faceoff win; and John Ranagan, who played his 100th career game.