It’s throwback night at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night as the two teams with the most championships in National Lacrosse League history – the Toronto Rock and Philadelphia Wings – go head to head.
Philadelphia, who overwent an image change after being given an expansion franchise, will bring back its famous uniforms, which were worn by franchise icons Dallas Eliuk, Tom Marachek, and Jake Bergey – who all had their numbers retired by the franchise during this seasons home opener.
The Rock won’t be sporting any new uniforms, but they will be looking to spoil the party and earn their fifth win of the early campaign.
In the first meeting between the two teams, the Wings gave the Rock all they could handle, pushing the game to overtime before inevitably coming up on the losing end of the final score.
It’s been a tale of two different seasons for the pair of teams. The Wings sit last in the NLL with a 0-5 record. They have been close to nabbing their first win on a few occasions, but have been on the bad end of some unlucky breaks.
Toronto comes into the game on a three-game winning streak that started with the OT victory against Philadelphia on home floor. After beating Colorado on the road, the Rock avenged an early-season loss to Georgia by beating them 14-9 last weekend – snapping a four-game regular season losing streak to the Swarm in the process.
One streak will end on Saturday, and with the two teams already getting a look at one another this year, it’s shaping up to be a competitive affair.
He led the Rock with two goals and six points against Georgia, however, Hellyer was held to just three assists by the Philadelphia defence. It’s unlikely that he gets held without a goal again. The Rock will spread out the offence much more than last time against the Wings. Hellyer will be relied on to make sure of that.
Captain America had a massive game against Philly in the first meeting, with five goals and eight points on 13 shots. Nowadays, it’s more of a headline when he doesn’t have an incredible offensive output. Schreiber is really starting to get chemistry with Hellyer, which should scare opposing defences.
Jones also put up his own five-goal game against Philadelphia, including the overtime winner. He’s really starting to find his stroke on outside shots and has 21 points in five games this season.
Dan Craig had a big game last weekend against Georgia. So he’ll likely be checked a little harder than usual as a result.
McArdle is fourth on the team in scoring with 17 points in five games. He’s got nearly twice as many assists as goals. The ball has to start going in the net sometime for the American. His outside shooting prowess should come in handy against Philly.
The Big Cat is just getting back into the swing of the season after being acquired by Philadelphia earlier this month. He opened his season with a four-point performance and followed that up with a hat trick and five points against Buffalo last weekend. Crowley, who played for the Rock back in 2015, will be the go-to offensive threat for the Wings.
The rookie is an absolute unit that’s a handful for opposing defences. He had two goals against the Rock last time out. He has only improved with every passing game and should be able to have a better outing on home floor.
The Wings’ captain got his first two goals of the season in Toronto. He’s potted five more since. Matisz leads the team with 21 points in five games and has played a bigger role since Brett Hickey went down for the season.
The American standout didn’t play in the first meeting between the two teams, but he has a chance to be a difference maker in this matchup. While he only has seven points on the year, the 2017 Tewaarton Award winner possesses all the tools to make defences pay.