The San Diego Seals came barking into Philadelphia and slid away with a 12-11 win.
It was virtually all San Diego in the first quarter. Wes Berg started the scoring. Sam LeClair quickly answered back for Philadelphia. However, that seemed to send the Seals on the prowl as they scored four more before the quarter ended. Philadelphia knew it had to make changes.
The second half saw more evenly matched play as both teams scored twice. Going into the half, the crowd that came for Emo Night seemed both restless and quiet. Maybe it was the halftime show by The Starting Line that revved them up; or maybe it was the adjustment the coaches made at the half. Whatever it was, it worked in favor of the Wings whose momentum picked up.
Quarter 3 saw the Wings out score the Seals 3-1. Then came quarter 4. Nine goals were tallied between the teams. A late run by Philadelphia almost had them flying to victory but they simply ran out of time.
This game resembled an old school National Lacrosse League game. The guys played like they had personal vendettas to settle, like they’ve hated each other for years. Jerseys were grabbed, guys were pushed down, some of the slashes seemed both extra hard and extra long. The game had an almost-playoff vibe to it – a sense of urgency that it was a must-win game.
Probably no one felt that sense of urgency as much as Ben McIntosh, who has struggled at home. He walked away with a three-goal and five-assist night. Someone who hasn’t been struggling is Joe Resetarits, who had six points on three goals and three assists. Resetarits also became the first American-born player to reach 400 assists. When asked about what it meant, he laughed and said “It means I’m old, I guess.” He also said his performance “could be better.” He selflessly refused to acknowledge all the great things he has accomplished this season – he just wants the win.
Despite the loss, there were some positives for Philadelphia. Once again, Zach Higgins kept the Wings in it despite an onslaught of shots. Head coach Paul Day was asked if he considered taking Higgins out, and Day replied that they used the challenge to try and change the momentum of the game. Higgins ended the game with 49 saves.
The Wings also worked on getting more offensive players to score. And even though Mitch Jones did not put countless balls in the back of the net, he still contributed multiple assists. After the game, he said it wasn’t one of the best games he played.
The Wings are also trying to find the answer to perennial faceoff specialist Trevor Baptiste. Baptiste, welcomed back by fans to Philadelphia for the first time since being traded to San Diego, continued to dominate. The Wings know they still have a lot of things to work on before their next home game on Friday.
Day reflected on the game as well as key players returning from injuries.
“It was good to get them back in. Obviously, I was disappointed with our start. Loved our second half. Pretty resilient group. That doesn’t matter in the end of the day standings, but it is something to build on.”
Something that has been built on is San Diego’s strong core group of guys, who, much like Resetarits seem to get better with age. Dane Dobbie had four assists and Curtis Dickson had a hat trick and an assist.
Philadelphia will be back home on Friday to face Halifax.