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Bird's the word: Wings look for revenge against Knighthawks

03/11/2014, 3:55pm EDT
By Knighthawks beat writer Jeremy Pike & Wings beat writer Julie Kayzerman for NLL.com

Rochester visits Philadelphia on Sunday seeking season-series sweep

Philadelphia Wings (3-8) host Rochester Knighthawks (8-3) at Wells Fargo Center on Sunday at 4pm ET. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)

The Rochester Knighthawks (8-3) visit the Philadelphia Wings (3-8) at Wells Fargo Center on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET for their third meeting of the season. Watch the game live on YouTube via The Lacrosse Network.

When it comes to a game plan, Wings head coach Blane Harrison had few words to say.

“Well, it’s pretty simple,” Harrison said. “We need to play sixty minutes.”

This response stemmed from the performance of the Wings last game in their loss to the Rochester Knighthawks— who they’ll be hosting on Sunday March 16 at 4 p.m. ET at the Wells Fargo Center.

And the reason for the loss in Rochester last weekend?

“(I) didn’t think we played sixty minutes,” Harrison said.

In a game built on player consistency and performance, it actually seems to be that in the case of Philly, they’ve had bad luck with their consistency revolving around them not fully playing each quarter in the game— and instead losing the game during a certain quarter each time.

But this weekend as the Wings head back to the familiar stopping grounds of their home turf, they’re hoping redeem themselves from last weekend with not only a win over Rochester but for the passionate Philly fans itching for a 'W' in the standings.

“It is frustrating,” Harrison said of last weekend’s loss. “I thought we played against a very strong team—very well for three quarters and then in the fourth quarter when we needed to close it out, we didn’t. We let it slip away.”

The Wings are now looking to tweak a few problem areas in order to finish out the game, according to Harrison.

“But at the end of the day,” Harrison added, “Our best guys need to be our best guys. When we need a play, whether it’s in transition or offense or defense, the guys that we brought in that we think can do the job, need to get the job done. And I thought that wasn’t necessarily the case last week.”

However, the frustration of Philly’s inability to put together a complete game isn’t only a bother to the coaching staff, as the players are certainly feeling it too.

“I think it’s just really what Blane had said before hand, to just put it together—a full game here,” said Wings rookie defenseman Mike Poppleton. “I think we’ve shown moments of greatness, but we’ve got to go back to the little things and piece it all together for the full game.”

Rochester beat the Toronto Rock by a score of 17-12 on Saturday night using a second-half comeback with help from backup goalie Angus Goodleaf and 11 points from Cody Jamieson.

“The plan is to get out of Toronto Saturday night and into Philly as quick as we can,” Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen said. “We'll go from there and just prepare and be ready for four o' clock.”

Last weekend's game against between Rochester and Philadelphia was an intensely physical game, and Sunday afternoon should be no different.

“We know it's going to be real tough,” said Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen. “That last game we played against Philly, it was a tough, physical battle. And going into their barn, we're expecting the very same thing... We've got to just be prepared to be physical and keep it as simple as we possibly can.”

The Knighthawks did stumble a bit out of the gate at the BCA before getting their legs under them in the second quarter. Avoiding that will be key on the road.

“Looking to maybe come out to a little bit better start than we did at home on Saturday,” said Knighthawks defenseman Jon Sullivan. “Other than that, pretty much the same thing. Keeping to the principles that we've been working on throughout the season... just keep going in that direction.”

This weekend will test the Knighthawks' ability to play on the road which could be very important at the very end of the season against Thruway rivals the Buffalo Bandits and into the playoffs.

“We need to be better on the road,” Hasen said. “We need to be better prepared, and this weekend is gonna be a big, tough test. We're hoping for the best results, but we also know that we're going to need to work hard and bear down to give ourselves an opportunity.”

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