Photo Credit: Kyle Hess
Lyle Thompson, No. 4, has taken the NLL world by storm with his impressive sophomore campaign. The 24 year-old leads the entire NLL in points with 59 (25G, 34A), tied for first in goals for and sits in third for assists. Lyle was drafted with high expectations, and it’s completely fair to say he may be exceeding them.
After a weekend of setting a new career-high in single-game goals (6) and matching his personal best in assists the game before (8), the Onondaga Nation native was all smiles and confidence after Georgia’s 15-9 victory over the Rochester Knighthawks on Feb. 19.
“When you get a feel for it and your teammates are telling each other to get me the ball,” Lyle said after the game Sunday, “that puts a lot of confidence in yourself and – I wouldn’t say pressure because confidence is a huge thing – but I try to be both. I like to be someone who can go to the net and score if a team’s not respecting my ability to score, and if a team’s overplaying that, that’s when I start feeding the ball.”
During his rookie campaign, the 2015 NLL No. 1 overall draft pick finished with 60 points (27G, 33A) in 18 games, scoring two game-winning goals. 17 of his points were from power plays (7PPG, 10PPA). He also collected 81 loose balls and caused 12 turnovers. By the end of the 2016 season, Lyle had 103 shots-on-goal (SOG) and a .180 shooting percentage (SPCT) while going 18-for-33 on faceoffs. He was one of four Georgia players to be named to the 2016 All-Rookie Team, a collection of the six best rookies across the NLL. Lyle tied with Calgary’s Dane Dobbie and Vancouver’s Garrett Billings for 30th in the NLL in points.
Eight games into his sophomore season and Lyle already has or is on pace to eclipse his own rookie records. Helping lead Georgia to a 7-1 record, he takes a bye week one point short of his entire 2016 total. Lyle’s other stats in comparison to himself and the rest of the NLL leaders:
Has 21 power play points (5PPG, 16PPA). No other player in the league has as many power play assists as Lyle.
Already has two game-winning goals. Of the top 100 scoring players in the NLL, only Calgary’s Tyler Digby (tied for 35th overall) and Saskatchewan’s Jeff Cornwall (tied at 64th overall) can claim to have as many GWGs.
Has four shorthand points (3SHG, 1SHA). Out of the top 100 scoring players in the league, the next closest are four players with two, one of which is Georgia’s very own assistant captain Shayne Jackson (16th overall).
Collected 60 loose balls. To find a player with more, you have to go down the scoring leaderboard all the way to 75th and find New England’s Jay Thorimbert and his 83 loose balls gathered.
Has 77 SOG and a .240 SPCT. Go down the leaderboard. Nobody’s close.
Already 20-for-37 on faceoffs. Nobody in the top 40 has close to the amount of faceoffs or wins that Lyle has.
Lyle also leads the league in the 3 Star Leaders category with 20 points (three 1st star wins, one 2nd star win, two 3rd star wins). These are awarded to the top three players of each game. Lyle has dominated the rankings in Georgia’s matchups, placing in 75% of the games played and earning top honors in three of the games.
“Lyle’s really continued on from where he ended last year,” offensive coach Dan Ladouceur said later in the week. “That was a big hope for the coaching staff that he would hit the ground running, and he has. We’re very happy with the leadership role he’s taking on. He’s more vocal. He’s talking more to the guys about the offense and having input. For our part, it’s very refreshing.”
Refreshing as it may be for the Swarm coaches, exciting is what it is for the Swarm franchise and its fanbase. With his brother Miles and Jerome Thompson on the floor with him, the Thompson Brothers started off the season against the Saskatchewan Rush by setting a Guinness World Record when visiting brother Jeremy played, too. This occasion marked the first time four brothers had ever played in the same game in professional lacrosse.
Whether he’s recording eight assists in a game or getting the socktrick (six goals in a game), he’s a constant offensive threat playing his heart out every time he steps on the floor.
Photo Credit: Kyle Hess
What others are saying:
Captain Jordan MacIntosh: “A lot of people have elevated their game this year. Obviously for starters, Lyle. He’s at 59 points now, and last year he had 60. I was teasing him the other day, saying, ‘Hey, Lyle, what the heck were you doing last year?’ Basically, he’s been phenomenal.”
Assistant captain Shayne Jackson: “Lyle’s been just killing it this whole season. The past three games, he’s really stepped up to the plate.”
Goalie Mike Poulin: (Talking about the player’s reaching their potential) “Lyle’s a classic example. You know guys with 60 points in 18 games. When we talk about reaching our potential, now he’s got 59 points in eight games. He’s a prime example of a guy who’s come into his own.”
Assistant coach Sean Ferris: “Lyle Thompson, the No. 1 overall pick, he’s come into his own. Kudos (GM and owner) John Arlotta for taking him first overall. He’s been a treat to watch, been awesome. He’s done everything for us this year: scored five-on-five; scored power plays; he’s scored three man-short goals; played on a man-short, scored a goal, then went on the faceoff team. He’s a complete player … Lyle’s really come into his own this year.”
Georgia will take to the road next week for two games. The team visits Scotiabank Saddledome to take on the Calgary Roughnecks Saturday, Mar. 4. Faceoff is set for 9:00 p.m. ET. The Swarm then travels to Mohegan Sun Arena to take on division rival New England for the third time this season on Sunday, Mar. 12. Faceoff is set for 1:00 p.m. ET. Fans can catch both games LIVE via NLLTV.com
Georgia returns to The Hive for a rematch against Calgary on Friday, Mar. 17. Faceoff is set for 7:35 p.m. ET. Tickets are available by calling 844-4-GASWARM or by visiting GeorgiaSwarm.com/SingleGame.