The Philadelphia Wings saved their best performance for the last game of their season. Playing on the road in the Infinite Energy Center down in Georgia, the visiting Wings did their part to strip the Swarm of their chance to clinch the top seed in the East Division by defeating their new rivals 19-14.
A strong opening 15 minutes from the Wings gave them enough of a cushion to sail to a victory that was rarely in question. After allowing the first score of the contest, the Wings rattled off six straight goals. The Swarm brought the game back to within one goal early in the second quarter, but that was as close as they would come to tying or leading the game. The 19 goals for the Wings is their most this season.
It didn’t help that the Swarm’s Kevin Orleman looked vulnerable between the pipes in just his second career start. In 42 minutes, he allowed 14 goals on 38 shots and was replaced by Craig Wende who played 17 minutes in his first NLL game. Gowah Abrams was reliable in net, primarily through the first three quarters. He allowed only nine goals in his first 45 minutes but surrendered five tallies in the final frame.
The Wings’ Trevor Baptiste capped off his 2019 season by setting another record. With his sixth face-off win, he set the record for most face-off wins in a season. With 29 face-off wins on the night, he ends this campaign with 362 wins at the X. It didn’t matter who the Swarm matched him up against; he beat four Swarm players at the dot across the night.
Offensively for the Wings, Josh Currier and Kyle Matisz led the way with six points each – both had three goals and three assists. For the Swarm, Jordan MacIntosh, Bryan Cole and Randy Staats all had hat tricks, but no other Swarm player had multiple goals.
Steph Charbonneau finished his Wings rookie season with a strong showing on defence. He caused three turnovers and scored once, and it is the fourth time he’s created at least three turnovers this year.
The fact that the Buffalo Bandits won their game tonight against the New England Black Wolves means that they, not the Swarm, will win the East Division’s top seed for the NLL Playoffs.
The Wings and Swarm have now completed their seasons. While the wings are out of the playoffs, the Swarm are now locked into the second seed in the East Division which means they’ll have at least one home game this NLL Playoffs.
The Swarm know they’ll be playing the Toronto Rock in the East Division Semi-Finals, so they can use their bye week in the final week of the season to prepare for that key match. They’ll want to improve from their underwhelming playoff run last year when they were bounced out in the opening round by the Rochester Knighthawks.