Wings, Rush, Knighthawks Pick Up Opening Night Victories

The Philadelphia Wings started their 2014 season with a 17-13 win on the road against East Division rival, the Buffalo Bandits.

The Wings never trailed during any part of the game. Philadelphia scored the first goal of the season opener from the stick of new addition, Kyle Buchanan. The Wings also had solid contributions from veterans Kyle Sweeney, Kevin Ross, and Jordan Hall. Philadelphia outshot the Bandits 40-24 in the first half and lead 9-7 heading into halftime. Jordan Hall completed a first half hat-trick.

Philadelphia remained in control of the game during the second half. Philadelphia carried a four point lead into the final quarter, leading 13-9. Kyle Buchanan and Kevin Ross completed hat-tricks in the second half. The Wings carried their momentum into the fourth quarter and scored four more times.

Jordan Hall led all scorers with five goals, including a run of four straight goals in the second quarter. Tracey Kelusky had the last laugh against his former squad, scoring six points (two goals, four assists). Evan Kirk impressed in his first start with the Wings at goaltender. He made 39 saves on 52 shots attempted by Buffalo.

Buffalo had solid contributions by off-season acquisition, Ryan Benesch. He contributed two goals in his debut with the Bandits.

Philadelphia returns to action against the Rochester Knighthawks on Saturday, January 11 at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, NY. The Philadelphia Wings host the Buffalo Bandits at Wells Fargo Center for their 2014 season home opener on Sunday, January 12, at 4:00 p.m.

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Rochester 8, Minnesota 6

(December 28, 2013)...The two-time defending National Lacrosse League champion Rochester Knighthawks shut down the Minnesota Swarm, 8-6, in the season opener at The Blue Cross Arena on Saturday night.

Matt Vinc, the reigning Goaltender of the Year, limited the young Swarm offense to six goals - the fewest Minnesota has scored in a regular season game since a 13-6 loss to Toronto on March 23, 2007. Vinc finished with 45 saves on 51 shots, good enough for a .882 save percentage.

"Tonight was a big one for the defense and 'Vno,'" Joel McCready said. "They played like crazy. 'Vno' stood on his head, and our defense just put up a wall in the second half. Those guys, they get all of the credit for this win."

"I'm kind of spoiled in regard with our top defense," Vinc said. "They give us a chance to win every night. I think today they gave me an opportunity to see the ball early and really feel comfortable. The last five minutes, the offense really took off and just us some momentum and we never looked back."

On an offense with the likes of Dan Dawson and Cody Jamieson, it was McCready who unexpectedly provided the momentum swing the Knighthawks needed to come from behind. Trailing 6-5 midway through the fourth, he scored two consecutive goals 38 seconds apart to put Rochester up by one. He also earned three assists on the night, finishing with five points, second only to Dawson's six (2+4).

McCready, a transition player, found himself taking more shifts on offense due to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, and with both Craig Point and Cory Vitarelli scratched for the contest. With fewer players on the bench, McCready's position essentially became forward rather than pushing the ball up the floor from the backend.

"Every game, I'm not sure where I am going to play. Tonight they said I'd play a bit more out the front door," McCready said. "Just wherever they want me I have to fit in. Wherever they need me, I'm going to work my hardest; I'll play in net if they ask me to."

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