Pre-season action gets underway for the Philadelphia Wings this weekend as they head north of the border to Toronto for 2 games. First of which is tonight against the Bandits, the same team they will face in the season opener on Jan 11. The Wings come in with 7 rookies and 13 new players total on there current 23 man roster. The team will get their first look at Rabil, Hartzell, Buchanan, & Ross, just a few of the players acquired during the offseason.
The Bandits come in with their roster set as well. The offensive arsenal of Wiles, JT, will see action, and new additions Shawn Williams and Aaron Wilson are sure to add more power to this offense. Will this be JT’s last season? There hasn’t bee any indication of it.
On transition Dhane Smith & Mark Steenhuis will add speed as well as extra offensive power as the trasition game for the Bandits is a very strong one
On defense the Bandits will have the always tough Billy Dee Smith, Scott Self, Steve Priolo protecting goaltenders Anthony Cosmo and Kurtis Wagar. Expect to see both goalies getting time in the cage. Look for Cosmo to be his normal self and start to get on the opposing team when they come into his crease area.
Also look for former Wings Dave Brock and Mike Hominuck in action tonight.
Wings come in with 7 Forwards, 5 Transition, 8 Defense, 3 Goalies. On the offensive side returning are Crowely, Westervelt and Crotty from last years squad. Kevin Ross (Swarm) & Kevin Buchanan(Bandits) are 2 solid veterans to help fuel the offense. The 2 new additions on the squad are Ethan Farrell & Will Harrington. Farrell is a 5’10 rightie who has shown to be very elusive when he has the ball and makes his way towards the net, his stick skills look as if he been in the league a couple years. Will Harrington is a 6’ 200 lbs, and always seems to be where the action is. Harrington is not afraid to get physical, and not afraid to be pushing his way to the net. I talked to Will during the camp, and also when camp wasn’t in session, and Will has stated he can’t wait to put on the colors of the Wings. Yes, there will be butterflies, but its part of the game. In my opinion, if Farrell and Harrington put the effort this weekend and during the season as they done in camp, the fans and the organization will be very pleased.
On transition you have, Paul Rabil, Kyle Hartzell, Brodie Merrill(C), Max Seibald, and Joel White. Seibald and Merrill are the returning members of the team, and fans know what to expect from them. Our new additions Rabil(Stealth, Edm,) & Hartzell(Stealth) these two will add a lot of speed to the Wings transition, as well as give them some offense as well. Both these players can take the ball over the center line deep into the opponents zone and set plays, and they are both very strong defenders. Joel White acquired in the Dawson trade is a young transition player with a lot of speed and agility, look for his game to excel alond side of the other four.
On defense we have four fresh faces, so it will be up to the veterans, Manney, Hein, Reynolds, Holmes to guide them. The new additions are CJ Costabile, Mike Manley, Brian Teuber, & Chad Weidmaier. All four of these rookies have shown they have what it takes to be in the NLL. They are all very tenacious in there play, they don’t give up on the play, and no matter how big you are, they will do whatever it takes to take the ball from you.
In goal we have 13 yr vet, Brandon Miller. Miller is looking to rebound from last season as he had some very rough games throughout the season. No doubt what was shown in camp that Miller is focused and ready to go. Kevin Croswell will be backing up Miller this season. Croswell is a seasoned vet who has seen time with the Swarm, & Stealth and is a very capable goaltender the fans can be safe with when called upon. The third man in the trio is Jake Lazore a rookie. Lazore may only stand at 5’9” but he covers the net like a vet standing at 6’5”
Both teams one goal in mind is to shake the rust off and not get hurt as they face off against each other 3 weeks from tonight in Philadelphia.
Everyone is saying why are the Wings going American? You cant win with American players. I guess people forget the 2008 & 2009 NY Titans. In 2008 the Titans went to the division semi’s falling to Toronto, and 2009 the Titan team made it to the Champions Cup, just falling short toCalgary. They made it further then the Wings have since 2001, and the Titans did it with Americans. The person who put that team together is the same person who has helped put this Wings team together.. Assistant GM Jimmy Butler.
Tomorrow night the Wings face-off against the Toronto Rock Games this weekend are not televised but you can follow along on twitter @PHILLYWINGS