By Tim Panaccio, Inquirer Staff Writer
For most of three quarters, Detroit Turbos goalie Ted Sawiki had stoned Brad Kotz and the Philadelphia Wings.
“I kept saying that the worst thing we could do was to stop shooting, because that would only make him think he had our number,” Kotz said. “He’s unbelievable. He’s such a great angle goalie.”
Kotz, however, figured out Sawiki’s angle, scoring four of his game-high five goals in the final quarter last night as the Wings beat the Turbos, 19-10, before 13,982 at the Spectrum.
Kotz, the Major Indoor Lacrosse League’s leading scorer with 17 goals and 12 assists for 29 points, credited the Wings’ ball movement for the victory.
“The secret to beating (Sawiki) is to try to pass the ball and get him to step across the crease,” Kotz said. “He doesn’t leave much open.”
Sawiki went into the game as the league’s leading goalie, averaging 39 saves a game. The Turbos had the league’s leading defense, having yielded only 8.3 goals a game.
“It’s nice that we had to face some pressure to win, because we learned something about ourselves,” Wings coach Dave Evans said. “We showed some poise out there.”
The second half saw the Wings tally 13 goals, including five in 3 minutes, 18 seconds in the last period, as they overcame an 8-6 halftime deficit.
The victory pushed the Wings, who will play on Friday night at New England, into first place with a 4-1 record. Detroit fell to 3-1.
Twelve members of Detroit’s 19-man roster played box lacrosse in Canada, giving the Turbos the most experienced indoor team in the MILL.
John Conley scored three goals for the Wings, and goalie Kevin Bilger picked up three assists, giving him five for the season.
Bilger played well for most of the first half but looked bad on several goals in the final seven minutes of the half.
“We seemed to have better athletes and ability but didn’t take advantage of that, and it caused a few lapses in that second quarter,” Evans said.
Four goals in the third quarter enabled the Wings to overcome their halftime deficit and carry a 10-9 lead into the last period.
One of the third-quarter goals came on a breakaway by Kotz at 7:36 and gave the Wings a brief 9-8 lead. That goal broke Sawiki’s string of seven saves on Philadelphia breakaways.
“We noticed on tapes of the New England game against Detroit that (the Blazers) were getting goals mostly on bounces,” Evans said. “(Sawiki is) very good with the stick and at the top of the net. The best way to beat him is near the pipe.”
(Philadelphia Inquirer, February 19, 1989)