At the midway point of the Major Indoor Lacrosse League season, the two hottest items are the Spectrum's record crowds and the news that the Washington Wave has struck gold.

Record crowds have attended the Philadelphia Wings' two home games in the Spectrum. And the Wave's precious metals are Joe and Mark Gold, who have led its offense this year.

The Wave (3-2) will try to get even for an earlier loss when it plays host to the Baltimore Thunder at 1 p.m. today in Capital Centre. The Wave is a half-game behind the first-place New Jersey Saints (3-1), who will play at Philadelphia tonight.

The Wave is coming off a dramatic 17-16 overtime victory over the Saints before a team-record 9,227 fans at Capital Centre a week ago.

On the topic of big crowds, the Wings have drawn nearly 30,000 in two games, including a league-record 16,038 last weekend. "It's Looney Tunes up there," Wave Coach Glenn Little said. "They love their lacrosse."

"We are absolutely pleased," MILL Commissioner Darrell Russell said. "We know we have a good product . . . The response in Philadelphia has been super.

"I think we've reached a point of self-definition. We tamed the wildness, the players are better, the teams are better . . . "

He added that the crowds in Washington are starting to "come around," Baltimore has been a "disappointment" and games at the Meadowlands (6,500 per contest) have been scheduled on bad nights.

The league probably will add a team in Boston and either Pittsburgh, Hartford or Syracuse next season. "We definitely have to expand," Russell said. "We can't go three years with four teams."

Meanwhile, the Gold brothers have sparkled for the Wave. Mark Gold, 28, leads the league with 14 goals and nine assists (23 points) after scoring eight times all last season. Joe Gold, 25, has nine goals and two assists.

Both attended Brooklyn Park High School in Baltimore and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. Mark was a three-time all-America and Joe is a member of UMBC's all-time team.

Joe Gold is the more offensive-minded of the two ("Joe plays matador defense," Little joked), with 11 goals in the last three games. His power-play goal in overtime was the game-winner against New Jersey last weekend.