Black Wolves to meet Wings with first place at stake
The Philadelphia Wings moved to become the New England Black Wolves prior to the 2016 season. Then, when Philadelphia was granted an expansion franchise in the National Lacrosse League, they went with what worked for them the first time and rebranded themselves as the Wings.
When the Wings and the Black Wolves meet, they call it Rivalry Night.
Last season it featured a fistfight.
The teams are scheduled to meet for the first time in 2020 at 7 p.m. Saturday at Mohegan Sun Arena, with first place in the NLL's Eastern Division at stake.
New England is off to a 3-0 start, one of only two teams in the league to remain unbeaten along with Halifax in the North Division at 4-0. The Wolves, however, are coming off two straight bye weeks following their torrid start and haven't played since beating the New York Riptide 21-11 on Dec. 27 at Mohegan.
The Wings, meanwhile, are 3-1 and coming off an 18-10 win over Vancouver last weekend.
"Yes and no," New England coach Glenn Clark said, asked if he felt like the two-week layoff would help his team. "It was good in a sense because we had a couple of guys that were a little beat up. It gave them the opportunity to get healthy. Colton Watkinson is back to 100%, so it'll be good to have him back in the lineup."
Clark said the team convened last weekend in Toronto and got in some practice time.
"We got two good runs this weekend," Clark said in a conference call. "We were able to burn off some of the holiday cheer and get back into some systematic stuff.
"Guys tend to bounce back pretty quickly and get into game mode without too much difficulty. I'm hoping that's the case. Hopefully they're ready. They don't have a choice."
The Black Wolves are led by veteran forward Callum Crawford, who eclipsed the 1,000-point barrier for his career last time out with five goals and nine assists for a career-best 14 points. He has 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points.
Rookie Andrew Kew has six goals and 13 assists for 19 points, while Joe Resetarits has six goals and nine assists for 15 points and Reilly O'Connor eight goals and five assists for 13 points.
Joe Nardella has racked up 52 of 84 faceoffs for a .620 win percentage and goalie Doug Jamieson is allowing just 9.2 goals per game.
Kevin Crowley, a former member of the Black Wolves, leads Philadelphia with nine goals and 14 assists, while Brett Hickey has eight goals and Josh Currier seven.