BUFFALO, N.Y. (January 14, 2022) – The Georgia Swarm (1-3) dropped its second-straight road contest 12-10 to the Buffalo Bandits (4-0) at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, N.Y. The Swarm never held a lead over the undefeated Bandits, but were never more than three goals behind.
The Swarm scoring started with the league’s third leading goal scorer, Lyle Thompson, the 200th of his career. The Onondaga Nation native is the second-ever Swarm player to eclipse the 200-goal mark. Teammate and 2020 NLL MVP Shayne Jackson is the only other and first Georgia player to reach that achievement.
The Bandits had taken a 2-0 lead on their home turf until Thompson launched his historic goal past Buffalo’s league-leading goaltender Matt Vinc, who now leads the NLL in saves (174), wins (4), and save percentage (.844). The Swarm’s defense then allowed two more goals past and had the first penalty of the game called against them. As Adam Wiedemann sat in the box, Kason Tarbell found Thompson, who blew past his defenders and found the back of the net to cut the Bandits lead in half, 4-2.
After Thompson’s goal at the seven-minute mark, Mike Poulin and the Swarm’s defense held Buffalo scoreless for the remainder of the quarter and for the first five and a half minutes of the second. Poulin played a stellar game against one of the NLL’s most potent offenses, holding them to a goal under their season average and fending off 41 of the 53 shots sent his way. Poulin is currently tied for second in the league with 149 saves.
Jordan Hall found Brendan Bomberry up top as the man they call ‘”bomber” fired a rocket towards the left side of the goal to start the second frame. Bandits’ Josh Byrne responded to Bomberry’s blast to give Buffalo a 5-3 lead until Jackson threw Hall a behind the back pass who then dove over the crease and landed his shot between the pipes to bring the team within one.
After assisting Hall, Jackson fired a shot from the top and recorded his first goal of the night and knotted the game at five. Buffalo’s Byrne and Kyle Buchanan sunk two more goals past Poulin to give the Bandits a two-goal advantage heading into the locker rooms.
At halfway mark, Georgia won 9-of-13 (69.2%) faceoffs and was led by Vaughn Harris. Harris stepped up to the circle eight times and won seven-of-eight attempts (87.5%). By the end of the game Georgia won 69.2% (18-of-26) of faceoffs with Harris totaling 14. This marks a tremendous improvement over last week’s overtime loss to the Philadelphia Wings, where the Swarm won only 20.6% of its faceoffs (7-of-37).
Both team’s offense’s started off slow in the third frame as both teams were scoreless for eight and a half minutes until Buffalo’s Dhane Smith broke the silence with a man-up goal. The scoreboard read 8-5 for four more minutes until Thomas Semple received a pass from Jordan MacIntosh and landed a diving shot to score his first-ever NLL career goal.
Poulin cleared the ball up to Joel White which ignited a fast break opportunity. As White was running down, Bomberry came to help on his left and buried his shot to bring the Swarm within one (8-7) in the final frame. The fourth quarter also saw rookie Tanner Buck register a goal and MacIntosh followed with two of his own. But the four goals the Swarm put up in the fourth weren’t enough to out-duel the undefeated Buffalo Bandits.
The Georgia Swarm completes its four-game road campaign next Friday, Jan. 21, in Rochester, N,Y. when Coach Comeau’s squad faces the Rochester Knighthawks at 6:30 PM ET. You can watch the game live nationally on ESPNU and streaming live on ESPN+. After the Knighthawks, the Swarm return to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Resort field at Gas South Arena on Jan. 29 when they host East Division rival, the Philadelphia Wings, for the second time this season.