The Philadelphia Wings defeated the Rochester Knighthawks, 13-7, in front of 7,984 at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, NY. Wings goaltender Dallas Eliuk was named MVP, recording 46 saves to lead the Wings to victory.
The Wings jumped out to an early 5-0 lead with a balanced scoring attack, before forward Derek Malawsky finally put Rochester on the board with just under two minutes remaining in the first quarter. Both teams recorded just one goal apiece in the second quarter, as Philadelphia went to the locker room with a 6-2 lead.
Forward Tony Henderson extended the Wings lead to 7-2 in the third quarter, however, Rochester forward John Grant scored a natural hat-trick to cut the score to 7-5. Wings forward Jeff Ratcliffe answered back with a goal for Philadelphia to give them an 8-5 lead after three quarters.
Forward Mat Giles scored his first goal in a Knighthawks uniform, cutting the lead to 8-6. Th goal however would be the closest the Knighthawks would come as the Wings scored five of the last six goals to cruise to the 13-7 victory.
"We played strong first and fourth quarters," said Wings coach Adam Mueller. "Dallas' (Eliuk) performance kept us in the game during some weaker moments and we were able to grab a good early season win."
Forward Keith Cromwell led the Wings offense with a three-goal performance (3G, 1A). In addition forward Tom Marechek scored two goals and added four assists. Rochester was led by Grant, with four goals and two assists. Eliuk earned the win in goal for the Wings, while net minder Pat O'Toole received the loss for Rochester between the pipes despite 26 saves.
Philadelphia improves to 1-0, currently sitting atop the Eastern Division standings. The Wings return to action on January 10th, when they return to Western New York again to take on the Buffalo Bandits at the HSBC Arena. Rochester falls to 0-1, and will next face the Bandits on January 3rd inside the HSBC Arena.