Coming off of their first bye week since late January, the FireWolves return home for a rematch against the Philadelphia Wings in a game that will carry huge playoff implications. The two teams met in Philadelphia almost exactly three months ago and Albany came out on top, 9-8. Currently, Albany holds the sixth spot in the East, sitting just one game behind Philadelphia for the fifth place. Both the Wings and FireWolves have a leg-up in the win column over the teams vying for the fourth spot in the Western side of the bracket, and if Albany can beat Philadelphia once again, it will bode well for their playoff chances. For full coverage of this weekend’s matchup against the Wings, fans can tune into on My4 WNYT and ESPN Plus to watch at 7 p.m. EST.
Philadelphia enters the game riding a two-game win streak, taking down the New York Riptide and the San Diego Seals over the past couple weekends. The Wings have been relatively even with the FireWolves through 16 games, scoring nine more goals than Albany while allowing just one fewer. Philadelphia will be coming to the Capital Region with confidence after defeating the first-place Seals in overtime last weekend, with six Wings players recording at least four total points.
FireWolves Players to Watch:
Joe Resetarits is a guy that can be written about every week, and rightfully so. In the previous matchup against the Wings this season, Resetarits tallied six points on three goals and three assists. He has been the FireWolves’ offensive leader all season long, and you should not expect that to change down the stretch while the team fights for a spot in the NLL playoffs. On the season, the veteran righty leads the FireWolves in points, goals, and assists, and his 93 total points rank third overall in the league. He is the first and only American player to log 100 points in an NLL season and is just seven points shy of doing that again with two games remaining. The Wings had no answer for Resetarits last time around and now with the season on the line, count on him to prove why he is one of the best in the game one again.
Andrew Kew, like Resetarits, could not be stopped the last time the FireWolves and Wings met. The second year forward also had six points in the contest on two goals and four assists. Kew has proven that he can both score and setup teammates for open looks, making him a true dual threat on the offensive end of the floor. With the FireWolves needing two big games to finish the season, do not be surprised to see Kew adding to his already solid season totals.
Goaltender, Doug Jamieson,may not be getting the hype he deserves this year because of the FireWolves’ record, but make no mistake about it, ‘Dougie’ is a huge reason why Albany is even in contention for the playoffs. The reigning Goaltender of the Year has been peppered with a high volume of shots this season but has stood his ground with a 10.84 GAA and 613 saves thus far. Last time out against the Wings, Jamieson allowed just eight goals while stopping 38 shots on net. Philadelphia certainly has their share of dangerous weapons on offense and the FireWolves will need to rely on Jamieson being on his ‘A’ game for this one.
Opposing Players to Watch:
Kevin Crowley has been setting up his fellow teammates all season long, ranking third overall in the league with 59 assists. To put his importance to his team in perspective, Crowley has a whopping 23 assists more than the next closest Wing. The last time these two teams met, Crowley led the way for the Wings, scoring five points on two goals and three assists. He is the kind of player who you cannot keep off the stat sheet, but you have to find a way to limit him. If Albany can slow down Crowley and not let him get comfortable, it will go a long way into disrupting the Philadelphia offense. Crowley has scored multiple points in every contest this season and enters this matchup having scored at least five points in each of his last three outings.
Ben McIntosh comes into the game having scored nine points on seven goals over the team’s previous two games. The forward leads the team with 28 goals on the season and has only been held goal-less in three games – one of which came against Albany. He did record an assist when the teams met back in January, but him being held out of the net carries some serious weight. In the three games where McIntosh failed to score a goal this season, the Wings are 0-3. Pretty straight forward here: if Albany can keep McIntosh out of the net, they have a good chance of completing the sweep of Philadelphia.
Goaltender Zach Higgins has had an up and down season so far, allowing double-digit goals in nine games. In his previous meeting with the FireWolves, Higgins turned in one of his better performances of the year despite picking up a loss on his record. He allowed just nine goals and made 47 saves. The loss was less of an indictment on his abilities as it was more about the clean looks that Albany was able to get against the Wings defense. The FireWolves will no doubt look to come out of the gates firing, and if they can keep the volume up on Higgins, they should have their way on the scoreboard.
Since the FireWolves took the first game of this season series, Albany would maintain the tiebreaker over Philadelphia if they completed the sweep. A win for the FireWolves would put them in the driver’s seat to control their destiny against the Riptide on the final game of the season. A win for the Wings would all but clinch a playoff spot as they would finish no worse than the fifth seed in the East and could tie the Panther City Lacrosse Club of the West in record, but the Wings hold the tiebreaker over them.
Fans can secure their tickets for any of the 2021-22 FireWolves games today! For more information regarding tickets, visit www.AlbanyFireWolves.com or call/text the FireWolves front office at 518-362-4900.
The Albany FireWolves 2021-22 Inaugural Season is presented by CDPHP.
The Albany FireWolves is the Capital Region’s very own Professional Box Lacrosse team, playing in the National Lacrosse League out of the MVP Arena in downtown Albany, NY. For more information, contact the Albany FireWolves Front Office at (518) 362-4900 or visit AlbanyFireWolves.com