By LES BOWEN, Daily News Sports Writer
If Philadelphia Wings coach Dave Evans were to announce a theme for his practices this week, it would be something along the lines of “Saving Face on Faceoffs.”
The Wings play their home opener tomorrow night at 8 at the Spectrum against the Washington Wave. The Wave defeated the Wings, 14-13 in overtime, last Saturday in Landover, Md., in the Major Indoor Lacrosse League season opener for both teams. The big problem, Evans said yesterday, was faceoffs.
“We were something like 9-for-31 on faceoffs,” Evans said. “And it wasn’t the fault of the guys taking the draws. The guys on the line just weren’t picking up loose balls.”
Evans said the Wings have worked a lot this week on eliminating that problem, and hope to pick up 50 percent of tomorrow night’s faceoffs. John Tucker, who won several draws in the second half last week, will get more work in that capacity, Evans said. He said Tucker did especially well in a couple of encounters with the Waves’ top faceoff man, Mark Gold.
Another problem for the Wings last week was transition. Evans said he felt like the small playing surface at the team’s Edgewood, Md., practice site made the team slow to adjust to the larger Capital Centre floor.
“It was our first game on the big floor, and it showed,” he said. “I just spent about five hours watching tape of the game, and we were really slow coming out of our end.”
But not everything the first-year coach saw displeased him. Evans said the Wings’ defense was solid, and he was impressed by a fourth-quarter run in which the Wings came back from a 12-7 deficit to lead, 13-12, before Washington scored the final two goals. Evans said feisty 5-6 wing John
Conley hit a post with an overtime shot that could have won the game.
WING TIPS: Apparently, Wings general manager Mike French was being wildly optimistic last week when he said the Wings were close to a sellout for their home opener. Spectrum spokeswoman Carole Jarden-Morganti said yesterday that about 5,000 tickets have been sold. She said that this year’s base of 2,000 season ticketholders, however, is slightly larger than last year’s. Coach Dave Evans was particularly impressed with the play of Gary Martin, a first-year player who scored three goals last week and showed a lot of hustle… Evans said playing at the Spectrum might not provide all that much of a boost to the Wings because several of them live in the Baltimore area.
(Philadelphia Daily News, January 15, 1988)