PHILADELPHIA -- John Tucker and the Philadelphia Wings continued their mastery of the Baltimore Thunder last night in the opening round of the Major Indoor Lacrosse League playoffs at the Spectrum.
Tucker scored five goals and had three assists, leading the Wings to a 14-12 victory and ending the season for the Thunder.
The Wings will meet the New York Saints Saturday night at the Nassau Coliseum for the MILL American Division championship.
Tucker, 30, is retiring after six seasons of indoor play. In the last five seasons, Tucker has lost only once to the Thunder, who will be more than glad to see him go.
After the game, Thunder general manager Darrell Russell couldn't put a finger on the reason for the team's frustration. "I don't know what went wrong this season," he said. "We didn't have the right chemistry, I guess. We expected a better season."
The Thunder got two goals each from Jeff Jackson and Vince Angotti.
Baltimore had taken a 4-2 lead in the first quarter on goals by Fred Haas, Angotti, Pat Welsh and Matt Kerwick. Before the quarter ended, the Wings went ahead on four straight goals by Brian Voelker, Tucker, Paul Deniken and Scott Gabrielson.
The Thunder closed within 6-5 at 4:16 of the second quarter on a Todd Curry goal. Jackson tied the game at 6 with a shot into the right corner of the net from 15 yards.
But seven seconds later, with 3:35 left in the second quarter, Burt unleashed a blistering shot from 20 yards out and the Wings were ahead, 7-6, a score that stood up until halftime.
The third quarter opened with Tucker and Pat Welsh trading goals. Then Baltimore's Jim Huelskamp and Philadelphia's Paul Deniken hooked up in one of the better fights of the season, bringing the crowd of 10,185 to a roar.
After exchanging a flurry of punches for about 30 seconds, Deniken knocked Huelskamp's helmet off. Deniken then ran triumphantly toward the penalty box, as both players were penalized for fighting.
Nine seconds after the fight, at 7:54 of the third, Tucker scored for Philadelphia to run the Wings lead to 9-7.
Thunder goalie Tom Manos then made tough saves in a row to hold the Wings scoreless over the next three minutes.
But Ricky Fried scored on the run at 11:36 of the third quarter, giving Philadelphia a 10-7 lead.