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Wings Fall to Black Wolves 9-7

There’s no time to sit and sulk about it.

The Philadelphia Wings (7-6) will have to figure things out quickly after a 9-7 setback to the New England Black Wolves (8-3) on Saturday. The losses have piled up in a hurry lately and the Wings will need to figure out a way to end a season-long three-game losing streak before they face off against the Georgia Storm on the road tomorrow afternoon.

“I think we’re excited to put this to bed,” Matt Rambo said. “Obviously we lost, so maybe we can go with a little extra steam and take it out on Georgia. It’s a business weekend for us so we’re just trying to have a short memory right now.”

Philadelphia never led in the game despite a jolt of energy from Steph Charbonneau, who roughed it up with New England’s Nick Chaykowsky just 26 seconds into the game. But it was the Black Wolves who seemed to benefit as Andrew Kew and Jordan Durston followed with back-to-back goals to open the scoring and give the Black Wolves a 2-0 advantage just 2:17 into the game.

Cory Vitarelli, in his first game back from injury, scored on the powerplay 38 second later to cut the lead in half for Philadelphia.

“I felt good,” Vitarelli said. “I felt like my timing was a little off early but not too bad.”

The Black Wolves continued to surge with goals by Joe Resetarits and Reilly O’Connor before Liam Byrnes cut the deficit to 4-2 to close out the scoring in the first quarter.

Kiel Matisz and Rambo helped the Wings keep pace with a goal apiece in the second quarter as Philadelphia still trailed by a pair at halftime, 6-4. Goaltender Zach Higgins finished the half with 7:37 of shutout lacrosse and kept a clean sheet throughout the third quarter, turning aside all 10 shots he faced in the frame. During that time, Rambo scored on a long blast and Vitarelli scored in tight on the powerplay to tie it 6-6 with 2:14 left in the third. But the Wings just couldn’t seem to find the go-ahead goal the rest of the way.

“We pushed the pace a little too much in the fourth I thought,” Day said. “When it was a two-on-two or three-on-three, it’s not even transition. And I think that came to bite us in the butt as well.”

Higgins’ shutout streak of 27 minutes, 23 seconds finally ended as Callum Crawford finally hit the scoresheet with 10:14 left in regulation to put the Black Wolves in front for good. The league’s leading scorer was held in check most of the day but would add another insurance goal after Adam Bomberry stretched the lead to two.

“That was a pretty good lacrosse game today,” Day said. “We’re obviously disappointed but we’re right there with them.”

Brett Hickey capped off the scoring before Ryan Wagner tangled in some rough stuff with Colton Watkinson in the final two minutes to bring the game full-circle.

Rambo hinted that the Wings need to get back to playing with the same intensity that helped them win seven of their first 10 games.

“I just think we need to get back that chip on our shoulder again,” Rambo said. “I think we lost that just a tiny bit but we’re fighting hard. The ball’s not bouncing our way today but we’re alright. We need to take it five minutes at a time and not look too forward.”

The Wings headed to the airport shortly after the game to make it in time for their game in Georgia on Sunday. They’ll likely arrive ahead of the Swarm, who were taking on the Riptide in New York on Saturday night. It should provide an even playing field for a crucial game.

“We’re fortunate that Georgia is playing in New York tonight and we’re going to get in there tonight and get ahead of them and get some rest,” Wings Coach and General Manager Paul Day said. “We’ll turn the page and focus on our next group, hopefully get some fresh bodies and see what we can do.”