The Philadelphia Wings outscored the Baltimore Thunder, 9-2, in the final quarter for a 21-16 win in the regular season finale for both teams before 10,265 at the Baltimore Arena last night.
John Tucker's fifth goal of the game pulled the Wings even at 15-15 early in the fourth quarter and the visitors went on to score the next four goals, two by Mark Hahn. The Wings finished the season at 5-5, one game behind the Thunder in the Major Indoor Lacrosse League's American Division.
John Nostrant led the Thunder with five goals and two assists and John Conley finished with three goals and five assists for the Wings.
The Thunder had clinched first place in the American Division with a 17-14 win last Saturday over the Wings in Philadelphia and will face the Detroit Turbos for the MILL championship at 8 p.m. April 6 at the Baltimore Arena.
It will be the Thunder's second appearance in the championship game, having won the inaugural title, 11-10, over Washington in 1987. It will be the first championship appearance for the Turbos.
Baltimore had trouble solving Wing goalie Mark Moschella early, falling behind, 2-0, on goals by Tom Burt and Conley while Moschella stopped the first four Thunder shots.
But goals by Nostrant and Matt Lewandowski in the final minute of the opening quarter pulled the Thunder even at 4-4.
After the Wings went ahead, 7-5, early in the second quarter, the Thunder rallied in a four-minute spurt, scoring five of the next six goals.
Nostrant's third goal of the first half, a liner from 15 yards, put Baltimore ahead, 8-7, with 7 minutes, 57 seconds remaining in the opening half.
Philadelphia evened the score less than a minute later when Rob Hoynes beat Tommy Manos in the Thunder goal. Then Pat Welsh scored his second goal on a long liner past Moschella and Nostrant added his fourth of the game for a 10-8 Thunder lead with 5:05 left in the second quarter.
The final score of the half came from Tucker, whose unassisted score cut the Baltimore lead to 10-9 just before halftime.
Vince Angotti opened the second-half scoring with a strong move from behind the goal to beat Wings goalie Dallas Eliuk just 51 seconds into the third quarter and put the Thunder ahead, 11-9.
But the Wings tied the game, 12-12, with less than four minutes left in the quarter on Chris Flynn's second goal.
The Thunder moved ahead less than a minute later when Brian Kroneberger scored on a feed from Nostrant. Then, after the Wings' Mark DeCicco and Jim Huelskamp were given game misconduct penalties for fighting, Don Giblin scored unassisted to put the Thunder up, 14-12, after three quarters.