NLL: Wings retire Finneran’s number but can’t get the win

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The Buffalo Bandits came into Philadelphia and nabbed a 13-9 win over the Wings on Friday night. In a game that seemed eerily reminiscent of their last game (a loss to Toronto), Philadelphia broke down in the second half. Buffalo snagged the win.

The stadium was roaring with excitement as fans celebrated the retirement of Kevin Finneran’s number 11. The players seemed to feed off the fans. However, like the last few games, Philadelphia fell short in the second half. Their play, coupled with the failure to capitalize on multiple power plays, proved to clip the Wings again.

“I just think we just have to shoot a little bit better as a team, so we’re not satisfied at all,” said Matt Rambo after the game. “We’re almost there… I just think some guys, I think all of us, just need to put a little bit of work in during the week. We’ve been working really hard.”

It was evident that the Bandits play like a team that has been playing together for a long time. They anticipated the passes, had crisp cuts and knew where the other guys were. There were times the Wings tripped over each other while trying to switch on picks.

The Philadelphia Wings retire Kevin Finnegan’s jersey. (Photo: Philadelphia Wings/NLL)

The first quarter was evenly matched with Philadelphia ending up on top 3-2. Kyle Buchanan put the first goal for Buffalo past Zach Higgins, the 200th of his career. Sam LeClair answered back for Philadelphia. The energy in the stadium was soaring when Blaze Riorden found the net twice in a row before Tehoka Nanticoke scored the first goal of his hat trick on the power play.

The second quarter saw Philadelphia out score Buffalo again 3-1. Ben McIntosh, Joe Resetarits and Matt Rambo each found the back of the net. Brandon Robinson had the lone goal for the Bandits.

And then came the second half, and once again, Philadelphia struggled. Buffalo went on a scoring run, scoring six in a row before McIntosh scored his second of the night. Buffalo found their offensive groove. Matt Vinc came out of an early-game slump, and the Bandits proved why they are still dominant.

Also like last week, the Wings attempted to rally. They scored twice, but the Bandits added four more and ran away with the victory.

The Wings habitually struggled containing Dhane Smith and Friday was no exception. With crisp passes and stinging shots, Smith finished the night with nine points.

The Wings regained their focus quicker than last week. Guys like McIntosh and Rambo found the back of the net after struggling.

Rambo touched on the fans in Philadelphia who have watched the Wings lose their last few games.

“That’s Philly for you,” he said. “We love our fans… They’re up with us and they’re down with us too, and that’s why we love this city. They don’t give you that fake personality. You know, we hear the boos if we’re doing bad and that kind of gives us more energy to do better next week.”

The Wings will have to do better next week if they want to remain competitive. Philadelphia next tackles Albany while Buffalo takes on New York. And right now everyone in Philadelphia is thinking, “Go Birds!”