Philly Cruises Past Blazers in Home Opener
by Patrick Gordon | nll.com
Drew Westervelt scored a pair of goals to go along with three assists and goaltender Brandon Miller recorded 41 saves to lead the Philadelphia Wings over the Boston Blazers, 12-8, in front of 9,330 fans in Philadelphia's home opener at the Wachovia Center on Saturday.
Westervelt's goal early in the fourth quarter, along with Kyle Sweeney's short-handed breakaway goal with just under six minutes remaining helped the Wings (1-0) cement the victory, their first against Boston in two years. The Blazers won all three meetings last season.
"Last year was definitely on our mind so we were looking forward to this game so it's great that we were able to get a win and start our season series with them on the right foot," Westervelt said.
Forwards Jason Crosbie, Dan Teat and Kyle Wailes each netted a pair of goals in the win. Geoff Snider and Mat Giles chipped in with four points apiece.
The win improved the Wings record to 14-10 all-time in home openers.
"It's always important to win at home and I think our guys take great pride in that and I know that's something they always set as a goal," said Wings coach Dave Huntley. "We took care of business tonight and it's always nice to win your home opener."
The two teams exchanged goals throughout much of the first half before Westervelt notched an equalizer with under a minute left. Teat then scored with 4 seconds remaining to give the Wings an 8-7 halftime lead. The eight first half goals were a drastic improvement over the three the Wings scored last week in their season opening loss in Orlando.
"I thought we had a great second quarter," Huntley said. "I think when you play a team on the second night you have to take something out of them and we did. This game was probably won in the second quarter for us."
"We had to battle back from last week because we didn't start on the right foot," Westervelt added. "I think we made a step in the right direction tonight though, with better production offensively, and hats off to our defense who were terrific."
Miller was also terrific, stopping 41 of 49 shots on goal.
"He was fantastic tonight," Huntley said. "He handled the balls he should have handled and made a couple of saves that bailed us out. He did his job and when he does his job, he's one of the best goalies in the league and I think he showed that tonight."
Mike Poulin stopped 41 of 53 shots on goal in a losing effort for the Blazers (0-3). Nick Cotter finished with three goals and a pair of assists and Daryl Veltman finished with a pair of goals and three assists. Reigning NLL MVP Dan Dawson chipped in with two assists.
The Blazers, playing on back-to-back nights, came to Philadelphia on the heels of an 8-7 overtime loss in Toronto on Friday.
Philadelphia hosts Colorado next Saturday, while Boston entertains Orlando.
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