By Tim Panaccio, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Gait brothers, Gary and Paul, demonstrated their dominance of indoor lacrosse yesterday at the Spectrum by combining for five goals and six assists – and breaking two Major Indoor Lacrosse League records – in the Detroit Turbos’ 14-12 win over the Philadelphia Wings.
“You almost marvel at their skills,” said Wings coach Dave Evans. “The way they handle the ball – especially Gary with the stick. If you overcommit, it’s too late.”
With less than four minutes remaining in the game, Gary Gait, who finished with three goals and three assists, got the ball with the Turbos protecting a 14-11 lead.
Four Wings tried to poke it away from him. He switched hands. He faked high and low, left and right. He even forced two Wings to run into each other.
Still, he held onto the ball, killing two minutes off the clock.
“Twenty years of playing lacrosse allows me to do that,” Gary Gait said. ”Part of the reason is playing with my brother. We’ve been doing it so long; we know so much about each other out there.
“Plus, these guys allow us to play our game. It’s an unselfish club.”
The crowd of 16,642 saw a pair of league records fall:
* Paul Gait scored twice to break the single-season record for goals, 28, set by the Wings’ Brad Kotz in 1989. Gait now has 30.
* Gary Gait’s three assists broke the single-season record for assists, 24, set by the Wings’ John Tucker in 1989. Gait now has 25.
If there was one consolation for the Wings, it was holding Detroit to 14 goals – six under its league-leading average of 20.
That was a result of marvelous goaltending by Dallas Eliuk, who made 43 saves. Many of Detroit’s goals came on clean breakaways.
In fact, with the Gait brothers controlling the ball as if their aluminum sticks were magnetic, Detroit actually dominated many of the Wings’ power plays, making Eliuk’s job even harder. The Turbos wound up scoring three short-handed goals.
“We gave them the ball eight to 10 times because of poor shot selection,” said Evans. “When you do that, it’s no wonder, with their skill level, that they’ll turn that into four or five goals, which they did.”
Tucker and Lou Delligatti led the Wings with two goals each. With 10 goals this season, Tucker is the only Wings player in double digits in scoring.
The Wings never led, although they tied the score four times, the last with 8 minutes, 29 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Scott Gabrielsen’s 15-footer past Turbo goalie Ted Sawicki made it 11-11. A minute later, Pete Parke gave the Turbos the lead for good, scoring his third goal of the game.
The victory gave the Turbos a 5-1 record and a stranglehold on the National Division lead. The Wings dropped to 2-3 in the American Division.
If both clubs won their divisions, they would meet in the one-game championship, which probably would be played in Philadelphia because the Wings draw well – they lead the league in home attendance with an average of 15,904.
“That’s kind of hokey, since they’ve beaten us twice, but I would welcome the home advantage,” Evans said.
(Philadelphia Inquirer, February 11, 1991)