It was the same two teams playing in a different location, but for the Baltimore Thunder, the result was painfully familiar.
Just five days after losing to the Wings in Philadelphia's most lopsided victory in franchise history, the Thunder lost to its Interstate 95 rivals, 20-17, last night before 9,707 at the Baltimore Arena.
"Coming back and playing like we did after getting our butts kicked last week, I have to be pleased," said Thunder coach Skip Lichtfuss, whose team travels to Detroit on March 5 before playing host to the New York Saints in its final home game on March 12. "We still have a ways to go but this was definitely a step in the right direction."
The Thunder (0-5), which had five days to digest last Sunday's 25-9 Major Indoor Lacrosse League loss at the Spectrum, did what it has done in all of its games and found the net first. This time Paul Cantabene did so 54 seconds into the contest. Cantabene finished with four goals and was selected the game's Most Valuable Player.
Thunder goalkeeper J. J. Pearl, who was making his first start of the season, managed to stop three consecutive shots by the Wings before allowing Philadelphia's Rob Shek (Bel Air/Towson State) to tie it.
Paul Gait, who entered the game as the league's second-leading point-getter with 12 goals and eight assists, gave the Wings (3-1) their first lead of the game on a feed from Kevin Finneran. The Wings increased the lead to 4-1 after goals by Gary Gait and John Nostrant, but the Thunder came back and tied the game on goals by Brian Kronenberger, Cantabene and Bob Martino.
Philadelphia's Bob Marechek, who was named the game's MVP last Sunday after getting three goals and three assists, scored the first of his three goals with 13 seconds left in the first quarter to give the visitors a 5-4 lead.
The Wings, who came into the contest averaging close to 19 goals a game, opened a 9-5 lead in the second quarter on a goal by John Conley (Fallston/Towson State) and later led 11-6 after a goal by John Blatchley (Loyola High/Towson State).
Jeff Wills cut the lead back to four on an unassisted goal with 1:56 left in the half but Paul Gait got the final say before the half, giving the Wings a 12-7 lead.
The Thunder outscored the Wings 4-1 to start the second half, but trailed 13-11 after an unassisted goal by Cantabene.
The Wings returned the margin to four on consecutive goals by Finner an before Baltimore closed the third quarter with goals by Cantabene and Tim Hormes.
Baltimore trailed by 15-13 heading into the fourth, buPhiladelphia opened the fourth quarter with four straight goals to extend the lead to 19-13.
The Thunder added three goals, including one each by Pietramala, Kronenberger and Tim Welsh, in the final two minutes of the game.
Welsh ended with three goals and two assists and Kronenberger, from Loyola College, finished with two goals. Lindsay Dixon was the Thunder's only other multiple scorer with two goals and one assist.
"I think the guys were a little embarrassed by the last game and they were trying to keep the respect that these two teams have for each other," said Thunder assistant coach John Tucker. "This is the best we've played yet and it's a game that we can use as a steppingstone."