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When a timer's decision at the War Memorial Arena proved costly to Rochester in the fourth game, one angry Griffin, Dave Wilfong, had to be physically restrained from hitting the official. Kells defended his player's outburst. "He should have gone after the guy belligerently," Kells said. "Davie Wilfong's played half his life trying to get on a winner and he shouldn't be messed up by a lousy timekeeper."
"Yeah," said a bystander. "But does that mean he should attack the guy?"
"In the NHL they call that 'color,' " Kells said. "Here they call it attacking."
Before the series moved back to the emptiness of War Memorial for the final game, Kells also got into a beef with his bosses over television. Accusing Philadelphia's Channel 29 of interrupting the last period of game four eight times with 30-second commercials, Kells fired off a stiff telegram to Wings Owner Ed Tepper. It read: NO TV PERMUTED FOR SATURDAY GAME.
A few hours later Tepper got another wire, this one from Tad and Tom Potter, the Griffin owners. It read: DISREGARD ANY REQUEST FOR CANCELLATION OF TELEVISION BROADCAST.... WE CONSIDER THIS A NECESSARY AND IMPORTANT USE OF PUBLIC EXPOSURE FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE ENTIRE NATIONAL LACROSSE LEAGUE.
That trivial setback hardly kept Kells from hammering away at Philly from all angles. At the start of the series he suggested that the Wings undoubtedly were weary from their labors against the Maryland Arrows, who took them through two overtime games before losing in the semifinal. And after the Griffs jumped off to a 2-1 lead in games, it seemed he might be right.
Playing in Rochester before 1,786, the Wings forgot their fatigue long enough in the fourth game to gain an 11-10 victory and even the series at 2-2. But thereafter Kells' analysis of Philly's problems proved a precise prediction of what occurred. Missing loose balls, sluggishly bobbling passes and failing to fall back on defense in time to halt Rochester breakaways, the Wings lost 13-9 at home before 10,179 fans.
"We think Philly is tired," Kells said. "No matter how well they play they can't stay with us after the 15-minute mark. We've got the runners and they're getting worn out chasing us. They don't look like they have the zip they had earlier in the year. Back then if you made a mistake against them, the ball was in the net before you knew it."
"If I could pinpoint our trouble I'd be a magician," Allan said of his erratic Wings after the fifth game. "The low point tonight was when we had the man advantage and they kept the ball away from us through the whole penalty."
Kells could thank Marshall for that. Coming from the crease to the attacking zone, Marshall and his mates played keep-away until their team was at full strength.