Despite having the lead at halftime, the Georgia Swarm (7-4) ultimately fell 10-8 to the Colorado Mammoth (3-5) in the Pepsi Center on Saturday.
The Swarm scored two goals in each quarter and started the game off strong by holding the home team quiet in the first quarter. Eli McLaughlin led the Mammoth comeback win with three of his four goals in the second half.
“We needed some good O chances, we didn’t bury our chances, and they scored some opportunistic goals,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “We talked about it at halftime. In this building, the Mammoth always feed off the crowd. We had some chances when we had the lead to create a little separation, and they stuck around and battled hard and put some goals in. We didn’t have the finishing touch around the net.”
Miles Thompson kicked off the scoring nine and a half minutes into the game, followed nearly two minutes later by Zed Williams. Those were to be the only two goals scored within the first two minutes as both defenses played well and goaltenders Mike Poulin and Dillon Ward made great saves. The first quarter ended with the Swarm up 2-0.
The Mammoth broke the ice in the second quarter off a transition goal from Jordan Gilles. Following a phenomenal save from Poulin, Randy Staats netted his first of the night. Brent Adams responded, and Holden Cattoni retaliated with a power play goal. McLaughlin had the last word of the first half with his first goal of the night. The Swarm went to the locker room up 4-3.
Ryan Lee tied things up quickly in the third quarter. Streaking off the bench, Shayne Jackson rifled the ball into the net to give the Swarm back the lead. Another transition opportunity for the Mammoth tied things up again. Thirty seconds later, Lyle Thompson used a power play goal to retake the Swarm lead for the last time in the night. McLaughlin capped the quarter with a power play goal of his own, and the two teams were tied up 6-6 at the end of the third quarter.
McLaughlin broke open the fourth quarter, followed by Kyle Killen’s first goal of the night. Williams used a diving goal to get the Swarm back within one, but McLaughlin widened the Mammoth’s lead back to two goals before an empty netter from Joey Cupido stretched the lead to 10-7.
Staats netted his second goal of the night unassisted with 41 seconds left in the game, but it was too little too late. The Swarm dropped their second game in a row and fourth of the season, 10-8.
Staats led the Swarm with five points (2G, 3A), and Lyle had four points (1G, 3A). Poulin made 44 saves on 53 SOG, finishing the night with an .830 SV%.
“Poulie played very well, and I thought defensively we played well for a lot of the night,” Comeau said. “Late in the game, we had some miscues. Again, I thought Poulie played really well. Without the empty net goal, we held them to nine, single digit goals. We like to think we can hold a team to nine goals that we should be able to win games. I think that’s squarely on our offensive guys. We win and lose as a team, but we have to execute. That’s their job, and we didn’t do that.”
McLaughlin’s six points (4G, 2A) led the Mammoth in scoring. Cupido was the only other Mammoth player to record more than two points, finishing with three (1G, 2A). Ward made 33 saves on 41 SOG, an .805 SV%.
The Swarm have next weekend off. They return home on Saturday, March 2 to take on the Rochester Knigthawks (2-6). Faceoff is set for 7:05 p.m. ET. Celebrate local military and first responders during the Swarm’s East Division matchup. Early arriving fans can receive a Swarm Koozie courtesy of Axiom Corporation. Call 844-4-GASWARM or visit GeorgiaSwarm.com/HeroesNight for tickets.