Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/4/12
After officially clinching a playoff berth last weekend, the Philadelphia Wings will play games against the Minnesota Swarm (5-7) and Buffalo Bandits (4-8) this weekend with a chance to secure a home playoff game for the first time since 2002.
“We were excited this week to hear that we’ve made the playoffs,” said Wings Head Coach Johnny Mouradian. “It’s great for our fans and our owners. We’re very proud of our players and coaches who have worked hard to get to this point. One of our goals before the season was to make the playoffs but another of our goals was to host a home playoff game and we’re well on our way to accomplishing that as well.”
Currently sitting atop the National Lacrosse League’s (NLL) East Division at 7-5, the Wings will first play host to the Swarm (5-7) at Wells Fargo Center Friday at 7 p.m. before hitting the road to battle the Bandits Saturday at 7 p.m. The Wings can clinch a home playoff game for the first time in 10 years with two wins this weekend and a loss by the Rochester Knighthawks.
Fresh off their bye week, the Wings will welcome a struggling Swarm team that has lost four consecutive games and is battling for playoff position in the West Division. The Swarm have been streaky this season, not surprising considering they play two rookie goaltenders in Evan Kirk and Tyler Carlson.
“Minnesota came out of the gate very fast. They’re a young club,” said Mouradian. “They have two great young goaltenders that they’ve been flip-flopping with some success. We aren’t taking them lightly. They can win on any given night.”
The Wings enter the game after splitting a home-and-home series with the West Division leading Colorado Mammoth before the bye week.
Wings forward Dan Dawson has been the team’s best set-up man all season, directing the offense and compiling an astounding 68 assists through 12 games. Dawson is just seven assists shy of breaking the NLL record of 74 for most assists in a season, a record he currently shares with Josh Sanderson.
Following Friday night’s game the team will head to Buffalo for the first of three road games to close out the regular season. The Wings have been road warriors so far thus season, compiling a 4-1 record away from home.
In the team’s first two meetings against the Bandits this season the Wings have gone 2-0, winning 13-10 on January 27 at First Niagara Center and registering a 14-13 home victory on February 12.
Dawson has been at his best against the Bandits this season, tallying 16 assists and two goals in the victories.
Tickets for Friday’s final regular season game can be purchased online at WingsLAX.com or via phone at 215-289-WING.
The Philadelphia Wings are owned and operated by Philadelphia Wings L.P., whose principal owners are Russ Cline, Chris Fritz and Michael French. Comcast-Spectacor serves as the marketing, promotional, advertising, sponsorship and publicity arm of the Wings.