By RICK WHEELER
The Syracuse Stingers, with what interim coach Jim Higgs calls “possibly the fastest team in the league,” will bring their stylish, rapid-fire game of professional box lacrosse to Syracuse for the first time tomorrow night when the Maryland Arrows invade the War Memorial at 8 p.m. for the city’s National Lacrosse League inaugural. The Stingers played four exhibition games in Toronto and Ithaca, and opened their NLL campaign last night in Rochester, so tomorrow’s contest will be the first competitive appearance in Syracuse for many of the Stingers. A number Of these stick wielding, trick shot artists—Ron Hill, Russ George, Sid George, Jim Shaw, Alfie Jacques, Travis Cook and Gaylord Thomas—have blistered the War Memorial floor previously competing in the North American Lacrosse Association.
Aside from the local stars, the Stingers offer enough gate appeal to make any front office envious. In Riggs, the Stingers have a 25-year-old star, who will use his exceptional cleverness and feel for the game to direct the Syracuse squad until Cornell’s Richie Moran finishes with the NCAA playoffs and takes over as coach and general manager. League rules prohibit a player-coach, the Stingers tried a last-minute move yesterday to get Higgs onto the floor. They appealed to league presi- dent Spence Lyons, in Rochester for last night’s game, to use Louis Jacques (the team’s director of player development) as coach that Higgs could play. Lyons ruled, however, after polling the other teams. that Higgs cannot play untll “after we convene a formal league meeting and discuss it. We hope to meet May 29”. Moran’s date of availability was set as June 1.
Higgs’ talents will be missed the on the floor. Six time he was a member of the Canadian Junior A championship Oshawa Green Gaels team. In 1971, Higgs scored 89 points in only 23 games in a Canadian senior league. In goalie Bob McCready, Syracuse has a team leader who can bring the crowd and the team to their collective feet with his offensive exploits. He once scored 77 points in a single season. Gaylord Powless, one of the three Syracuse assistant captains, calls McCready “the most spectacular goalie you’ll ever see. If we’re down, he’ll pick up the tempo of the game all by himself. ” Another assistant captain, Bruce Todman chimed in, “McCready is great at motivating the whole team. He gets us going.’ ‘ Pat Differ, the other assistant captain, calls the Stingers’ whole outfit “spectacular.” “I’m sure this area has seen some good box lacrosse before.” Todman offered, “but nothing like this team or this league. It’s a whole different level. We’ve got the best talent from the US. and Canada. “
Todman, enthusiastic at the thought of the home opener before a roaring crowd, said, “All we want the people to do is come and see us the first time. Then we know they’ll want to come again.” Maryland. 1-0, and coached by Paul Clancey, “has a lot of talented individuals and a good physical checking team.” according to Higgs. The Arrows defeated Philadelphia, before 7,800 at the Capital Centre Thursday night. but team star Paul Suggate suffered a broken nose, was on yester. day, and may not see action tomorrow. The only other game in the league tomorrow will see Montreal visit Philadelphia where the Wings have sold out the 17,007-seat Spectrum. League President Spence Lyons will attend that game. Referee-in chief “Skeets” Harrison will be in Syracuse tomorrow for the Stingers’ game. In their opening game last night the Stingers fell victim to fast break passing by Rochester Griffin goalie Gary Van Schagen and dropped the decision. 26-21 before 6,150 at the Rochester War Memorial.
It was a wild offensive show with Rochester putting 95 shots on goal and the Stingers 76. The Griffins outscored Syracuse, 12-7, in the second period for the margin of victory. Rick Dudley, who plays with the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League, led his team with three goals and two assists. Other scorers for Rochester included Al Gordaneer (3-2), Dave Johnston (2-3) and Brian Keegan (2-3). Paul Cioci ked the Stingers with four goals and two assists. Other leaders were A1 Herrington (3-2). Pat Differ (2- 4) and Gaylord Powless (2-3). Stinger Defenseman Sid George from LaFayette had the distinction of getting the team’s first goal. Bob McCready and Brian Cuddy alternated in goal for Syracuse each playing half of the first two periods and McCready, all of period three.