Philadelphia Edges Knighthawks: Wings Advance to Championships
Friday, April 20, 2001
PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia Wings advanced to the NLL championship game with a 12-11 win Friday at the First Union Center in front of 10,259 fans. This was the team's first home playoff game since 1998, when the team won the league title. The lead switched several times throughout the game, but Tom Marechek put in the game-winner with 1:29 left in the fourth quarter .The Wings will face the winner of Saturday's semifinal matchup between Washington and the defending champion Toronto Rock.
"This feels fantastic," said Wings' coach Tony Resch. "We've worked awfully hard this year and knew what we had to do. The last couple of years have been tough, being knocked out in the semifinals. This is a big hurdle and I hope we can keep the momentum going."
Rochester came out firing in the first quarter, scoring two early goals from Mike Hasen and John Grant. Both goals were scored on outlet passes from goalie Pat O'Toole. Philadelphia got on the board with a goal from Tom Marechek on a five-on-three advantage and tied the game with a Jake Bergey goal late in the quarter.
The momentum switched twice in the second quarter. Rochester scored three goals (Kruger, Grant, Malawsky) in a 1:23 span to take a 3-goal lead, but Philadelphia answered with four goals of its own in less than three minutes (Ryan, Ratcliffe, Clark, Millon). The Knighthawks dominated at the end of the quarter, scoring goals by Grant and Duane Jacobs. Rochester held a 7-6 lead at halftime.
Bergey scored his second goal of the game to open the third quarter and Rochester' s Troy Cordingly responded less than a minute later. Philadelphia took over for the remainder of the quarter, taking a one-goal lead on goals by Ratcliffe and Kevin Finneran.
The two teams traded goals three times in the final quarter before Marechek netted the game-winner with just 1:29 remaining in regulation.
Jake Bergey led the Wings in scoring with six points(2G,4A). Six other players scored goals for Philadelphia, including Mark Millon (1G,3A), Kevin Finneran (1G,1A), Jason Clark (1G,2A), Tom Ryan (1G,1A), Tom Marechek (3G,1A) and Jeff Ratcliffe(3G,2A)
Curt Malawsky led the Knighthawks in scoring with four points (3G,1A). Five other players scored for Rochester, including Mike Hasen (1G,1A), Rusty Kruger(1G,1A), Kurt Malawsky (3G,1A), John Grant (3G,1A), Duane Jacobs (2G,2A) and Troy Cordingly (1G,1A)
UPCOMING GAMES: The Philadelphia Wings play in the NLL Championship Game against the winner of Saturday's semifinal game between Washington and Toronto. The time and date are to be determined.
Photos by Boog Williams