The Philadelphia Wings were the ones who were supposed to be gasping for air in the second half of last night's Major Indoor Lacrosse League game.
After all, the Wings should have been spent by halftime, considering they played Buffalo just a night earlier.
Instead, it was the well-rested Thunder that was trying to catch its wind after giving up seven third-quarter goals en route to a 17-12 loss before 5,989 at the Baltimore Arena.
"Yesterday, we were a little hesitant and we weren't going after it and we lost, so today was a must-win game for us," said game MVP Gary Gait, who moved to within one of tying Thunder assistant coach John Tucker as the Wings' all-time leading scorer with 77 goals.
Philadelphia (1-1) resembled the team that won back-to-back MILL championships in the third quarter as the Wings outscored the Thunder, 7-3.
Gait, who finished with seven goals and one assist, led the third-quarter assault with three goals and one assist.
The Wings, who dropped their opener to Buffalo, 15-10, put 28 shots on goal in the third quarter alone and enjoyed 22 minutes of extra-man.
"We were just man-down too much and they were taking a lot of shots and percentage-wise, when you take enough shots, they're going to go in," said Thunder goalie J. J. Pearl, who recorded 33 saves before being replaced by Bob Watson (13 saves). "During the third quarter, I was getting completely exhausted because shots were just kind of coming from everywhere."
Brian Kroneberger, who led the Thunder with four goals in his team's 15-11, season-opening win over the Boston Blazers two weeks ago, put the hosts out front 34 seconds into the game when he found the net on a feed from Bob Martino.
Moments later, Tim Welsh showed how he became the Thunder's all-time leading scorer as he spun around two defenders and placed a shot past goalie Philadelphia's all-pro goalie Dallas Eliuk, giving Baltimore a 2-0 advantage with 11:31 left in the first quarter.
Philadelphia answered with an unassisted goal from Gait and another from Kevin Finneran before Baltimore's Chris Gill broke the tie, assisted by Rob Shek.
Gait tied the game again, at 3, on an unassisted goal late in the first quarter and Philadelphia added three more in the second.
An unassisted goal by Lindsay Dixon and a short-handed goal by Paul Cantabene helped the Thunder close to 6-5 at the half.
"It's tough to get any type of momentum going when you're man-down as much as we were tonight," said Thunder coach Skip Lichtfuss. "I thought we were playing aggressive, tough defense, but obviously the officials didn't see it like that."
Philadelphia .. 3 .. 3 .. 7 .. 4 .. -- .. 17
Thunder ....... 3 .. 2 .. 3 .. 4 .. -- .. 12