(CALGARY, Alberta) – The Georgia Swarm (7-2) fell victim to a dominating Calgary Roughnecks (4-6) to the tune of 18-11 on Saturday, March 4, at Soctiabank Saddledome. 9,780 fans watched as the home team scored first, widening the gap throughout the first half on the way to a convincing win.
Georgia’s second loss of the season came at the hands of a Calgary team desperate to end their five-game losing streak. A tale of two halves, the Swarm’s strong offense was held quiet in the first half as Calgary’s exploded. The score was 13-3 when the teams went to the locker room. Georgia came back in the second half and looked more like its usual self, but the hole it had dug itself in was too great to escape.
“Coming off an off week, we said all the right things,” head coach Ed Comeau said. “We were never going to be desperate, we had to come out with energy, we knew we had to bring effort, and we did none of that. We played without energy and without effort and certainly without execution, and that’s the result you get in this league … We knew they were desperate, and they certainly played desperate. We played like a team that it wasn’t life-and-death like it was for them, and that’s a big difference.”
Saturday’s matchup featured the return of goalie Mike Poulin to his home for six-and-a-half years, and the Roughnecks welcomed him by chasing him out from between the pipes early in the first quarter. He eventually came back late in the second quarter but finished the night with an 18.50 GAA and a .650 SV%.
Lyle Thompson and Kiel Matisz led Georgia’s offense with five points (2G, 3A) and four points (3G, 1A) respectively. Captain Jordan MacIntosh went 16-for-32 on faceoff opportunities in addition to scoring two points (1G, 1A).
Calgary welcomed Georgia and Poulin to Scotiabank Saddledome by scoring five unanswered goals in the first seven-and-a-half minutes. Jerome Thompson found the net first for Georgia with a fast break off the bench, but Dane Dobbie – who led the Roughnecks in scoring for the night with 11 points (7G, 4A) – forced Poulin out from the pipes with his second goal of the game. Brodie MacDonald replaced Poulin and watched Lyle score the last goal of the quarter, the score 6-2 in Calgary’s favor.
A defensive couple of minutes ensued until Johnny Powless made a beautiful underhand shot to score first in the second quarter. That would be the last goal scored for Georgia in the half. Led by back-to-back goals from Curtis Dickson, Calgary went on a five-goal streak. Georgia found itself down 10 goals for the first time all season and headed for the locker room with a more difficult task ahead of them in 30 minutes: coming back from a 13-3 deficit.
“It was three big points: it was have the passion every single shift, have the energy every single shift, and have the commitment to play better,” Matisz said about the team’s talk during the half. “Not to really work towards the score, worry about the score, but it was kind of, ‘Hey, let’s come away in the second half and let’s say we left it all on the floor.’”
The Swarm certainly did that in the second half, outscoring the Roughnecks 8-5. Georgia started the third quarter by scoring four unanswered goals in a two-minute time frame. Shayne Jackson (2G), John Ranagan (1G, 1A), Matisz, and Macintosh all made some fast and aggressive plays to cut the goal difference down to six goals. Dickson and Dobbie would retaliate with goals of their own, and the final quarter would start with Calgary still up by eight goals, 15-7.
Once again, Georgia went on a four-goal run, book-ended by Matisz goals. And once again, Calgary finished the scoring in the quarter with three goals of its own, book-ended by Dobbie goals. Goalie Frank Scigliano earned the win with Poulin gifted the loss from his former team.
Georgia will now have to shake the loss off as it continues its road trip with a visit to Mohegan Sun Arena on Sunday, March 12, to take on rival New England Black Wolves. Faceoff is set for 1:00 p.m. ET. Fans can catch the game LIVE via NLLTV.com. This will be the third time the two teams have clashed this season, with Georgia winning both games at The Hive.
“We’re going to take the mindset that we have to commit to each other throughout the week,” Matisz said. “The big thing for us is we were in touch all week … just committing to the Swarm and staying in touch through the week and holding each other accountable to have a better start, have a better game against New England.”
The Swarm return to Harrah’s Cherokee Field at Infinite Energy Arena on Friday, March 17, for a rematch against Calgary. Faceoff is set for 7:35 p.m. The team will be celebrating with a St. Patrick’s Day Party at The Hive. Players will be wearing special St. Patrick’s Day-themed jerseys during the game which will be available to fans via an online auction. A portion of the proceeds from jersey sales will go towards Bert’s Big Adventure. Early arriving fans can receive a special “Take A Seat” poster, and select Swarm players and mascot Stinger will be available post-game for autographs. Tickets are available by calling 844-GA-SWARM or by visiting GeorgiaSwarm.com/StPatricks.
Play of the Game:
There were not many shining moments for Georgia on Saturday, but one of the team’s best plays came early in the game. After the team’s two-goal first quarter, Powless scored the only Georgia goal in the second quarter. Hall had the ball and passed it to Powless, who a few feet north of the crease. Powless was immediately pushed down. As he fell, he dropped his stick head-down and flicked the ball underhand to roll it under Scigliano.