The Georgia Swarm (3-3) used a six-goal run in the second half to peel away and bury the Vancouver Stealth (1-6), emerging victorious on Saturday night, 16-12. The Swarm’s win moved it into a tie with the Buffalo Bandits for third place in the East Division.
This is the second game in a row where Georgia has used a six-goal run to end the night the victor. Shayne Jackson once again lead the team in points with another nine-point night (2G, 7A), and Lyle Thompson finished with a hat trick and three assists.
“Considering Vancouver played and traveled last night, they battled pretty hard,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “We pulled away in the fourth, but it was an even game late in the third. We’re happy we were able to finish it out.”
The game featured a lot of back-and-forth for the first five minutes before Jackson broke the ice off of a beautiful behind-the-back pass from Randy Staats. Lyle followed suit half a minute later, and Connor Sellars got in on the action, putting Georgia up 3-0. Joel McCready would finally put Vancouver on the board before Lyle scored again, followed by Johnny Powless. McCready retaliated once more, and Corey Small had the final say of the first fifteen minutes. At the end of the first quarter, Georgia was up 5-3.
Staats scored the first goal in the second quarter, then Small and Jackson before the Stealth started to find its feet. Logan Schuss started his three-goal quarter with a power play goal. Vancouver was awarded a penalty shot which Small took, but he could not beat Mike Poulin one-on-one. Schuss and Staats would score two more times each after the penalty shot, but Vancouver kept it close. When halftime began, Georgia was ahead, 8-7.
Staats recorded his fourth goal of the night by opening the scoring in the third quarter, widening Georgia’s lead to two, but Vancouver tied things up at nine goals apiece late in the quarter. Lyle had missed a possession after receiving a nasty cut on his forehead, and when he returned, he scored the last goal of the quarter for his hat trick, reclaiming the lead for the Swarm, 10-9.
Lyle’s goal marked the beginning of Georgia’s six-goal run. The Swarm took advantage of the multiple transition opportunities it found in the fourth quarter and widened the lead to 15-9. Frank Brown scored his first career NLL goal in that run, B.C. native Jesse King scored his first goal in his home province, Jerome Thompson netted his first goal of the season and John Ranagan scored his first of two goals on the night as well.
“We know our offense is based upon moving the ball,” Comeau said, “and when we move the ball, good things happen. And we really pushed the ball in transition … Lots of good things out of the backend.”
Vancouver kept pulling its goalies to get the extra attacker, and it paid off twice as both Small and Rhys Duch took advantage. James Rahe brought the score within three goals before Ranagan’s second goal of the night ended the Stealth’s chances. Georgia won 16-12, its second straight win on the road and against a West Division opponent.
Georgia had nine different players find the back of the net Saturday night. Staats scored the most goals on the night with four and tied in points with Kiel Matisz and his five assists. King, Brown and Powless all scored three points the same way (1G, 2A). Poulin took 45 SOG and stopped 33 of them, good for a .733 SV% and his third win of the season.
Schuss led the Stealth in points with eight (3G, 5A). Small and McCready each posted five points in a similar fashion (3G, 2A). Eric Penney earned the loss as he made 43 saves on 58 SOG, finishing the night with a 15.43 GAA and a .741 SV%.
After another bye week, the Swarm continues its month-long road trip with a battle against an East Division opponent. Georgia takes on the Buffalo Bandits (3-3) on Saturday, Feb. 10. Faceoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
“Once again, it’s about making sure guys that are banged up get a little bit of treatment and get workouts in,” Comeau said. “We’re going to try to get together and get our sticks in our hands and be ready coming off another off week of back-to-back weekends.”
Georgia’s next home game will be against the Rochester Knighthawks on Sunday, Feb. 11. The Swarm will be hosting Love is in The Hive. Tickets are available at GeorgiaSwarm.com/Tickets or by calling 844-4-GASWARM.
Play of the Game:
For the second time this season, the play of the game goes to a rookie making some personal history. Brown, selected No. 24 overall in the 2017 NLL Draft by the Swarm, got a scoring opportunity and made the most of it. As Jason Noble scrapped up a loose ball near the benches, Brown was ahead of everyone in transition. One-on-one with Penney, he received Noble’s pass and got his first career NLL goal with a shot past Penney’s left side.