April 9, 2011

Boston Ends Skid, Clinches Playoff Berth

by Alex Lee | NLL.com

BOSTON -- The Boston Blazers (7-8) topped the Philadelphia Wings (5-9) on Saturday night at the TD Garden, 9-7. The win broke a five-game losing streak and sewed up the last remaining playoff spot in the East for Boston, leaving Philly on the outside looking in for the third straight year.

Boston dominated the first half of the contest, going into halftime with a 6-2 lead. The Blazers' offense applied constant pressure on the Wings, partly due to 8 Philadelphia penalties.

Constantly down a man, Wings goaltender Brandon Miller was brilliant in net and was the main reason the Blazers didn't run away with the game early. Miller finished the game with 30 saves on 39 Blazers' shots and made several highlight reel saves.

For Boston, star forwards Casey Powell (2 goals, 3 assists) and Dan Dawson (5 goals, 2 assists) led the way. Kevin Buchanan and Nick Cotter also chipped in with a goal and two assists apiece.

Philadelphia's offense clearly missed leading scorer Athan Iannucci, who was scratched for his second consecutive game with a hand injury. Unlike last week, the Wings were unable to generate enough offense without their star.

The Wings settled for outside shots for much of the game, and had only two goals in the first 40 minutes. At the end of the third quarter, their attack finally showed some signs of life. Ryan Boyle (2 goals, 1 assist) and Drew Westervelt (3 goals, 1 assist) combined for 3 goals to cut the lead to 7-5 heading into the fourth quarter.

In the game's final frame, it was Boyle and Westervelt again combining for two more to cut the lead to one, 8-7, with nine minutes left. Boston's defense packed it in and hung on for dear life until Dawson scored his 5th goal of the game to seal the victory.

Boston heads to the playoffs for the 3rd straight year looking to improve on their 2009 and 2010 appearances which saw them fall in the first round.

The Wings head back to Philadelphia tomorrow where they will host the Rochester Knighthawks at 2:30pm ET in their home finale. Boston closes out their regular season next Saturday night when they travel to Buffalo to face the Bandits at 7:30pm ET.

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