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Vancouver to finish off road swing with Philly waiting in the wings

01/30/2014, 9:45am EST
By Wings beat writer Julie Kayzerman

Stealth to continue East Division back-to-back trip against Wings

Philadelphia Wings (2-3) host Vancouver Stealth (2-4) at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday at 7:30pm ET. (Photo: Richard Olson)

After a weekend off, the Philadelphia Wings (2-3) return home to take on the Vancouver Stealth (2-4) at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET. The visiting Stealth finish off their back-to-back road swing following a 17-12 loss to the Toronto Rock on Friday night.

“We are excited to play Vancouver, they’re a very good team,” Wings offensive coordinator Jim Milligan said. “They’re an excellent team defensively and offensively and (they have) a very strong goaltender, so I think we have our work cut out for us and we’re just looking to have a good game Saturday night.”

As the Wings are now five games into the 2014 season, defender John Ranagan is five games into his NLL career.

“It’s been a lot of fun so far,” Ranagan said on his experience in the league thus far. "It’s been a pretty big learning curve for me. I didn’t have much box experience coming in, but we have a great coaching staff and some great veteran leaders in the locker room that have been helping me out so far. So it’s been a lot of fun, you (can) see the passion in this sport, it’s contagious.”

With an abundance of new players in, the Wings are a young team with the rookies working to pick up the box game.

“We have a lot of new players in on the defensive end of it,” Milligan said. “A lot of them are learning the system and a lot of them are learning the box game too, they’re new to box. They’re really good American field players that are making the transition over to box and I just think it’s the little things they learn by playing and learn by practicing and learn by making mistakes.”

However, it’s not all young players on the field. The Wings added to their number of NLL veterans with the signing of forward Roger Vyse, who will take the roster place of injured forward Kevin Ross who has been placed on a 21 day injured reserve.

“(Ross) currently is dealing with an injury,” Milligan said, “and obviously we signed Roger Vyse, and Roger is coming in this weekend and it’ll be kind of a game time decision on if we put him in or not.”

With the Stealth coming to Philadelphia after facing the Toronto Rock on Friday, the Wings are looking to take advantage of their break and get another “W” in the standings.

“I think we’re getting better and better each time,” Milligan said “It’s a chemistry thing of just who’s playing with who and what kind of systems we want to play and which teams we’re playing. It’s something new to (the players transitioning over to the box game) and as they get familiar with it, I think you’ll see us get stronger as the season goes on.”

As for Friday night's loss, Vancouver had another game that slipped out of their grasp. Coming off of a heartbreaking 9-8 loss last weekend to the Edmonton Rush – a game in which they lead 7-2 – the Stealth surrendered another sizable lead en route to their fourth loss of the season.

“It was a carbon copy of last week's game. We had a big lead and we had an opportunity to push it even further,” said Stealth head coach Chris Hall. “They got on a roll and we couldn't stop it."

Watch the game live on YouTube via The Lacrosse Network.

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