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Wings Slip By Saints For Series Sweep

03/08/2003, 2:00pm EST
By National Lacrosse League

Jeff Ratcliffe scored eight goals and two assists, including
the game-winner, to lead the Wings past New York, 15-14, Saturday at the First Union Center in front of 12,863 fans. The win was the Philadelphia's second one-goal victory against the Saints this week and moved the team into first place in the Eastern Division of the NLL. The team is also on a four-game winning streak. The Wings are now 5-1 in the division, while the second-place Colorado Mammoth hold a 3-2 division record.

"Jeff played great," said Wings' coach Adam Mueller. "He's been in a little bit of a slump, but he was still getting the loose balls and doing things to draw attention and let the other guys do stuff . He's a guy that is going to do a lot of things for us."

New York took the Wings off guard at the start of the first quarter with two quick goals in the opening minute and fifteen seconds by Gavin Prout and Matt Shearer. Philadelphia cut the lead in half with a goal by Keith Cromwell 30 seconds later, but the Saints answered back with two more goals, from Shearer and Chris Panos. The Wings finished the scoring in the period with a pair of goals by Jeff Ratcliffe to make it a 4-3 game.

The lead changed three times during an offense-dominated second quarter with the two teams combining for 13 goals. The Wings' quarter was highlighted by three power-play goals. Jeff Ratcliffe completed the hat trick and added another hat trick for six goals in the first half. Matt Shearer led the Saints with two goals. Midway through the quarter, the Wings scored three unanswered goals to take a two-goal lead. After a goal by Panos, Philadlephia added two more goals from Ratcliffe and Tony Henderson, but New York pulled within two once again with one second left in the half.

Philadelphia increased its lead to three with Ratcliffe's seventh goal of the game eight minutes into the second half, but it would be the Wings only goal of the third quarter. Panos, Prout and Shearer each scored for New York to tie the game at 12 with one quarter remaining.

Wings' captain Tom Marechek put his team back on top in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, but Shearer quickly got the goal back for the Saints.

The two teams traded goals one final time with tallies from Marechek and Chad Culp before Ratcliffe put in the game-winner with 32 seconds left in regulation.

Jeff Ratcliffe led the Wings in scoring with 10 points (8G,2A). Five other players scored goals for Philadelphia, including Tony Henderson (1G,4A), Dan Marohl (1G,4A), Andrew Guindon (1G,1A), Keith Cromwell (1G,3A) and Tom Marechek (3G,4A).

Chris Panos led the Saints in scoring with seven points ( 6G,1A). Three other players scored for New York including Gavin Prout (1G,4A), Chad Culp (1G,3A) and Matt Shearer (5G,1A).

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