WINGS OPEN WITH A 19-8 ROMP OVER BLAZERS

By Tim Panaccio, Inquirer Staff Writer

Philadelphia Wings coach Dave Evans says it sometimes take brute force to get Paul French’s attention.

“You have to hit him over the head with a two-by-four to get him into a game,” Evans said. “He was there tonight.”

French, who spent most of last season on the bench for the Wings while scoring only seven goals, had five last night as the Wings defeated the expansion New England Blazers, 19-8, before 16,269 fans at the Spectrum – a Major Indoor Lacrosse League record for attendance.

Four of French’s goals came in the second half, when the Wings took an 8-4 lead and buried the Blazers. Two of those goals early in the third quarter gave the Wings a 10-4 cushion and after that, they were never challenged.

“My type of game is really helter-skelter,” said French, a former outdoor player at the University of Virginia. “I like loose balls and pushing it up the floor. Last year, we played a more structured game, which I’m not good at.

“If we’re going to win, we’ve got to drive the ball down their throats. We can’t play structured.”

Fellow attackman Andy Wilson, the club’s top draft pick from Loyola of Baltimore, scored four goals in the game, and Lou Delligatti had six assists and one goal.

“Wilson isn’t in great shape, either,” Evans said. “He broke his tailbone in an exhibition game around November. I think he’s going to get even better as he goes along.”

French said the big motivational factor was the boisterous crowd.

“That really gets you going,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of Baltimore players on this team, and most of these guys could have played there, but they wanted to play in Philadelphia because they know how much the fans get behind you.”

Wings goalie Kevin Bilger played well and had 37 saves; New England’s John Yeager had 48.

“We figured if we kept shooting and shooting and got a high percentage of good shots, we’d get it by Yeager,” Evans said. “One thing I want to do this year is force the ball up the floor.”

And down their throats.

(Philadelphia Inquirer, January 15, 1989)

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