The Washington Wave played two near-perfect quarters yesterday at Capital Centre. They also played two awful periods that almost cost them their Major Indoor Lacrosse League opener against the Philadelphia Wings.

Former University of Maryland standout Kirk Thurston saved the Wave, however, with a goal 2:33 into sudden death as Washington defeated the Wings, 14-13, before 6,681 fans.

The Wave blew a five-goal lead in the fourth quarter, allowing six straight goals. But Washington's Mark Gold tied it with 1:15 left before Thurston fired in the winner.

"You just don't mess up five-goal leads," Wave Coach Glen Little said. "We relaxed and I think the coach relaxed. I almost cost us the game. We got the big lead and we became lackadaisical. I should've stayed on them."

Pat O'Conner scored three goals and Gold, Rick Sowell, and Gary Hanley had two each to pace the Wave. Gary Martin led the Wings with three goals, and John Tucker, John Conley and Pat Lamon had two each.

The Wave played well in the second and third quarters, outscoring the Wings by a combined 11-4. But Philadelphia controlled the first and fourth quarters, yielding only two goals.

Trailing by 12-7 after three, the Wings erupted for their six straight goals. They scored five times in the first 4:47 of the period, capped by Tucker's goal from in front of the net, to even the game. Dave Tasker beat Wave goalkeeper Jim Beardmore with a 20-foot shot with 4:58 left in regulation to give the Wings their first lead since 6-5.

But Beardmore, an all-America at Maryland last year, made a daring run into Wings' territory and made a perfect crossing pass to Gold for the equalizer.

In overtime, Thurston, who helped the Terrapins to the NCAA Final Four last year, cut across the floor and put a 15-footer past Wings goalkeeper Vinnie Pfeifer.

Washington plays its next three games on the road, starting Saturday at Philadelphia.