By Dave Caldwell, Inquirer Staff Writer
The works of such rock groups as Genesis and Van Halen were blasted over the Spectrum’s sound system every time the Philadelphia Wings controlled the ball during last night’s Major Indoor Lacrosse League game against Baltimore.
John Philip Sousa would have been much more appropriate. The Wings stayed composed during an early Thunder storm, orchestrated a dramatic second-period comeback, then drummed in five unanswered second-half goals en route to a stirring 12-7 triumph.
“It was a great time out there,” said Pat Lamon, who set an MILL record with six goals, including two in eight seconds in the Wings’ second-period surge. “There was a great crowd. You couldn’t ask for anything more.”
A league-record crowd of 16,038 watched the Wings rally to score their first victory of the season against two losses. The raucous fans even staged a major-league wave.
“When they started doing the wave, I said to myself, ‘Let’s not get too wrapped up in this,’ ” Wings coach Dave Evans said with a smile.
It was a good thing for the Wings that the officials had to stop play twice in the first quarter so that the Spectrum maintenance crew could reglue the artificial-turf playing surface to the ice beneath. The Wings were outscored by 6-2 in the period and were outplayed so badly that the fans booed their sloppy, choppy performance.
Baltimore punched in three goals in the first three minutes, including a bizarre one by Chuck Muir only 1 minute, 6 seconds into the game. Muir lugged the ball behind the Philadelphia goal, then bounced a shot off the back of goalie Vinnie Pfeifer. Before a befuddled Pfeifer knew what had hit him, the ball dribbled into the net.
Later in the period, after John Conley’s goal sliced Baltimore’s lead to 3-2, the Thunder pumped in three straight scores.
“The things we talked about before the game, we just didn’t do,” Evans said. “The main thing was that we just weren’t putting the pressure on in any facet of the game.”
When Dick Grieves whipped in a goal with 8:04 left in the half, the Wings had ended an 11-minute, 25-second scoring drought. That is an eternity in an offense-happy league in which an average of 28 goals a game has been scored this season.
Grieves’ goal stirred the Wings. Fifty-two seconds later, Dave Tasker flipped a shot past Thunder goalie Tom Manos to get the Wings within 6-4.
Lamon then took the wheel of the turbocharged Wings’ offense. Just 11 seconds after Tasker’s goal, Lamon whisked a shot past Manos to make it 6-5. Eight seconds after that, he pried the ball away from a Baltimore defender at midfield, then scored on a breakaway to tie the game.
“I think that was a real boost for us,” Lamon said. “Here we are, down by one. Thirty seconds ago, we were down by four.”
Only 17 seconds after the Thunder seized the lead again on Butch Marino’s goal, Lamon scored on a rare penalty shot to retie the score. Just like that.
In the third period, Lamon gave the Wings the lead for good. Grieves and Tasker scored later in the period to make the score 10-7. Lamon completed his big night with two fourth-period goals, and the Wings, with Pfeifer continuing to frustrate Baltimore, had their five-goal margin of victory.
“I think we finally put together all we’ve been talking about,” Pfeifer said. “This was the third game of the season. Talk is over with now.”
(Philadelphia Inquirer, January 31, 1988)