Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/11/08
For the second weekend in a row the Philadelphia Wings play back-to-back games in the National Lacrosse League (NLL).
First, they travel to Portland tonight (10:30) to take on the Lumberjax (5-8) at the Rose Garden. On Saturday (8 p.m.) the Wings head to Minnesota to play the Swarm at the Xcel Energy Center in a battle of Eastern Division leaders.
The Wings and Minnesota are tied with 8-4 records.
Tonight’s game will be the Wings’ first game against Portland, but coach Dave Huntley feels confident his team is prepared for the challenge.
“My first thoughts are that they are a very tall and athletic team. It’s going to be difficult to throw through their defense,” stated Huntley. “They have strength in their defense, and Brodie [Merrill] has been terrific for them.”
Although Portland has shown to be strong defensively, the Lumberjax recognize the offensive threat Wings’ Athan Iannucci will present. Iannucci leads the NLL in scoring (54 goals) and has recorded 76 points.
Portland’s offense is led by Dan Dawson with 62 points (27 goals, 35 assists) and Derek Malawsky with 51 points (22 goals, 29 assists).
Following Friday’s game, the Wings will continue on to Minnesota play the Swarm for the second time this season. The first game on February 22 was tight in the first three periods, but the Wings scored 11 goals in the fourth quarter to cruise, 17-8.
“If anyone thinks that we are nine goals better than Minnesota, they are sadly mistaken,” Huntley said. “I don’t think that any team in this league is nine goals better than anybody.”
Iannucci is shooting for the league mark for goals in a season. In 2003, Gary Gait set the record at 61 goals while playing for the Colorado Mammoth. Iannucci has four games to set the mark and is averaging 4.5 goals per game.