After a tight first half, the Philadelphia Wings came out flying in the second half and knocked off the New York Riptide 14–6.
In the pregame, the spotlight for the Wings was on Brett Hickey and Zach Higgins after their stellar performances last week, and they did not disappoint tonight. From the get-go the two showed what makes them stars. Zach Higgins opened up the night making incredible saves as usual, and Brett Hickey helped get the scoring going with an assist to Kevin Crowley 2 minutes into the game.
Kiel Matisz joined the party shortly after, scoring a transition goal with an assist from Isiah Davis-Allen. A shorthanded fast break allowed the Riptide to get on the board with a goal from Fournier, and then Tyler Digby scored in transition again, evening the score at 2 early in the 1st.
A big save by Higgins and a beautiful outlet pass to Ryan Wagner put the Wings back ahead, and then Kiel Matisz added an assist to Brett Hickey to extend the lead 4-2. A loose ball pickup in front of the crease by Dan Lomas of the Riptide brought them back within one at the end of the 1st.
Opening the 2nd, the game became tied again when Jean Luc-Chetner scored after some excellent ball movement, but the Wings answered right back as Blaze Riorden caught a feed from Matt Rambo on the crease and finished past Alex Buque. After a few penalties and penalty kills by each team, Digby scored again with a minute and a half left in the 1st half to even the score at 5 going into the break.
The second half was a totally different story for each team. In the first, the Riptide played fierce and controlled the offensive battle, outshooting the Wings 32-19. In the second, they had very little offensive production and could not string together a strong possession. The Wings, on the other hand, dominated both the offensive and defensive aspects of the game.
Cory Vitarelli scored a mere 23 seconds into the 3rd, regaining the lead for Philadelphia, and he wasn’t finished there. Less than two minutes later, Hickey let one fly from deep to beat Buque off the bounce, and Vitarelli slipped one more in after a hard battle to maintain possession.
Connor Kelly for the Riptide scored their 6th and final goal with 9:18 left in the 3rd quarter, and from then on it was all Philly. Vitarelli notched a hat trick in the 3rd quarter alone, scoring with 3:24 left in the period and stretching the Wings lead to 9-6.
Heading into the 4th, the Wings had all the momentum and confidence. After letting up 5 goals in the first half, they only allowed 1 in the 3rd quarter, and the defense set the tone from then on out. Hickey scored his 3rd of the game less than a minute into the final quarter, and Matt Rambo got on the board 30 seconds later, slashing through the heart of the New York defense.
A Power Play opportunity for the Wings allowed Matisz to net another goal on an assist from Vitarelli, and another Power Play allowed Hickey to net his 4th goal on a crafty behind the back pass from Kevin Crowley. At 4 goals on the night, Hickey still wasn’t satisfied and scored one more goal to stretch the game to its final score of 14–6.
The Wings improved to 5–2 on the season and remain undefeated at home while the Riptide drop to 1–6. Zach Higgins was a brick wall again, saving 51 of the 56 shots he faced and only allowing 1 goal past him in the 2nd half.
The Wings play again next Friday the 31st against the Georgia Swarm in Philly at 7pm Eastern. The game can be seen on B/R Live.