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HIVE FIVE: Best of the Swarm’s offense on 2/22

5 Quick Stings detailing the best Swarm goals from last Saturday's showcase in offense

It’s not often we get to see a team put up 17 goals in a game, much less a game necessitating overtime. But that’s exactly what happened last Saturday, and the Swarm clawing their way back into the game and tying things up late gave those second-half goals an extra je ne sais quoi you had to be there to completely understand.

So while the Swarm prepare for the Vancouver Warriors for their first-ever meeting between the two teams at Rogers Arena, I wanted to do something different with this Hive Five and try and narrow down which of the Swarm’s 17 goals from last Saturday were the best of the night. You think it would have been an easier task than all the research and writing for a normal Hive Five, but nope, just as hard.

Given the difficult of deciding which Swarm goals were the best, I decided to measure up the goals by the following metrics: 

  • The technical ability required to score the goal
  • The grittiness preceding the goal
  • The goal’s “wow” factor – did your jaw drop when you saw the goal?
  • The emotions/narrative around that goal given when it was scored

With these in mind, I gave these categories a score between 1-10 (1 the lowest, 10 the highest) that doesn’t really mean anything and managed to decide which of the 17 goals were arguably the most impressive AND rank them from 5-1. While I’d love a medal for my work, I’ll settle on you commenting on the Swarm’s social channels which one was your favorite goal of the night. 

Without further ado, let’s kick things off with…

No. 5 – Zeddy’s Gritty Hat Trick

Technical Ability – 7

Grittiness – 9

Wow Factor – 7

Narrative – 6

One of the hardest parts of this list was deciding which of Zed Williams’ career-high five goals was the best of the bunch. But there wasn’t a goal that perfectly encapsulates Williams’ game quite like his hat trick in the third quarter, and it’s the lone goal on this list that wasn’t scored in the fourth quarter.

The effort he put in ahead of time, trying to work his way inside without success and getting pushed out, pressing his shoulder hard into Greg Harnett after a spin move, then creating separation with another spin move counterclockwise, that one-legged lean and low whip skipper for the long range goal – Williams has no quit to his game, and his hat trick personified it perfectly. If he wants to score up close, he will, but his long shot was working beautifully against the Roughnecks.

It wasn’t the first goal of the Swarm’s comeback, but it definitely represented the Swarm’s second-half efforts beautifully. Lots of grit and effort before a ground-level thunderbolt of a goal. And look at Williams’ smile in the replay as Zach Miller is the first to congratulate him. Things were starting to feel good for the Swarm right there.

No. 4 – Miles Directs the Play

Technical Ability – 8

Grittiness – 4

Wow Factor – 7

Narrative – 7

The Swarm had tied it up at 11 apiece, but the Roughnecks pulled ahead by two to make the score 13-11 in their favor. Miles Thompson received a pass from Randy Staats and immediately directed Williams to work his way inside. Staats shouldered Tyler Burton into the center lane and helped simultaneously set a pick against Zach Currier, who was playing man-to-man on Miles. Now with a four-person screen in front of him, Miles whipped his stick around Staats for a farside stinger that blistered right by Christian Del Bianco’s left ear.

Gotta love it when a good plan comes together. I also think Staats was the most charged up about that goal based on his reaction. Big team guy, that Randy Staats.

No. 3 – Randy with the Nutmeg

Technical Ability – 9

Grittiness – 8

Wow Factor – 9

Narrative – 8

Oh look, another play Williams was involved in. 

A lot of the reason this goal worked was because of what Williams did to get Staats open. After he passesd behind his back to Staats, Williams immediately charged past Harnett to set a pick on Curtis Manning. Because of his move, Harnett was behind Staats, and Staats saw the pick set for him by his teammate, immediately taking that shallow avenue now available toward the net. From there, it’s a five-hole goal right above the goalie stick head and between Del Bianco’s thighs – box lacrosse’s version of a nutmeg.

No. 2 – The Magically Appearing Shayne Jackson

Technical Ability – 6

Grittiness – 9

Wow Factor – 9

Narrative – 9

Sneaky, sneaky Shayne (Jackson).

Jackson’s first goal of the night was a power play goal that he slammed in, tying the game for the first of six times that fourth quarter. But this goal was his more impressive of the pair. 

It’s become tougher for players to work their way inside this season due to how tightly defense have stayed packed in front of the net. That didn’t stop Jackson from immediately running into the pairing of Liam LeClair and Mitch WildeLyle Thompson started to head towards the door step with Tyson Bell in front of him, sliding back to form a triangle which hid Jackson until he emerged two steps away from the crease. Bell was still with Lyle, but Wilde was focused on Jordan Hall, and LeClair realized too late who he was supposed to be covering. It made it look like Jackson appeared out of nowhere to those that weren’t focused on him the entire play. Staats made the easy pass, and Jackson got the shot off while falling, nailing that top corner in style.

The celly was pretty minty, as well. 

No. 1 – Lyle Thompson Wants More

Technical Ability – 8

Grittiness – 8

Wow Factor – 8

Narrative – 10

Narrative wins out.

What else was it supposed to be? The Swarm were down 6-2 early, saw Mike Poulin get chased from net early in the third, witnessed Kevin Orleman play a perfect third quarter, and found themselves within two goals to start the final frame. They tied things up, found themselves down by two, tied it up again, and exchanged blows with the Roughnecks three more times to find themselves down one goal with under a minute left. Orleman was on the bench, and the Swarm went with the extra attacker (EA).

EA goals don’t happen quite as often for the Swarm as they’d like, and the risk of getting an empty netter scored against are high. If their EA attempt failed and the Roughnecks potted it, then the that would have been the final nail in the coffin for the Swarm that night. But it ultimately worked out for them instead.

Staats started with the ball and began to pass it around the Swarm pentagon, with Hall in the center of the defensive formation. Jackson and Lyle passed the ball back and forth before Lyle liked Manning’s scramble to get back in front of him and ripped a last-ditch desperation shot that beat Del Bianco with a skip over his left ankle.

The celebration capped the effort beautifully, a charged up Lyle reveling in his success, while his five teammates immediately rushed towards him to pick him up in joy. Saturday’s game deserved overtime. While the final result didn’t go their way, you have to love the resilience from the Swarm and how they never quit.

It’s an effort we’ll hopefully see out of the gate this Saturday when the Swarm play the Vancouver Warriors. It’ll be a late game for East Coasters, starting at 10:00 p.m live on B/R Live. But it’ll be worth staying up late.


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