By Paul Domowitch, Daily News Sports Writer
If anybody wants Philadelphia Wings forward Gary Martin the next seven days, they will have to track him down in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Martin and his wife are off to Jackson Hole today for their first vacation since Martin’s wife gave birth to their first child 15 months ago.
Before leaving, Martin helped keep alive the Wings’ hopes for a third successive Major Indoor Lacrosse League title, with three goals in his team’s 11-9 come-from-behind victory over the Pittsburgh Bulls last night at the Spectrum.
The win moved the 3-4 Wings just a game behind the division-leading Baltimore Thunder with three to play. Two of those final three games are against Baltimore.
Martin’s hat trick was only the second of his MILL career. The first one came in his first game with the Wings in 1988.
He had just three goals in the Wings’ previous six games. But last night, the 29-year-old former Penn State star was constantly in the right place at the right time. Two of his three goals came in a pivotal third period in which the Wings scored four goals and turned a 7-5 halftime deficit into a 9-8 advantage.
The Wings also got two-goal efforts from John Holthaus, Scott Gabrielsen and Mark Hahn.
“Gary plays that type of game every game,” Wings coach Dave Evans said. ”But tonight, he got the (scoring) opportunities and put them in the net. Other nights, he works just as hard and does the other stuff away from the ball.”
Martin has been overshadowed the last few years by linemates Brad Kotz and Andy Wilson, two of the Wings’ top scorers. But with Kotz out with a broken hand and Wilson also not in uniform last night, Martin felt he had to pick up the scoring slack.
“They’re the goal scorers,” Martin said. “But with both of them out, other people had to come up (and do the job). I don’t usually get this many (opportunities).”
Martin had two excellent point-blank opportunities for a fourth goal foiled in the fourth quarter by Bulls goalie Kevin Bilger, who used to play for the Wings.
“I think Kevin knew where I was putting the ball,” Martin said. “If you think about it, it’s not going to go in. That’s what I was doing. I was thinking top corner (of the net).”
Martin’s mother, who lives in Florida, was in attendance last night. She will take care of his daughter while he and his wife are in Wyoming.
The Wings’ valiant second-half comeback followed an awful first half that saw Philadelphia give up no fewer than five breakaway goals.
“They scored seven goals in the first half and didn’t earn one of them,” Evans said. “Every one of them was just a stupid, asinine error on our part. All we had to do was eliminate the errors and take charge. Which is what we did in the second half.
“That (second half) was the best half we’ve played all year.”
WINGTIPS: Included among last night’s 13,712 spectators were 76ers forward Charles Barkley and Flyers goalie Pete Peeters. “Rick (Mahorn) would really like this game,” Barkley said, referring to the MILL’s non-stop body-banging . . . Pittsburgh had two goals negated because the shots were attempted inside the crease.
(Philadelphia Daily News, March 1, 1991)