#4 Lyle Thompson. Photo Credit: Kyle Hess
(Duluth, GA) – The No. 1 seeded Georgia Swarm (13-5) returns from its first-round playoff bye with a visit to Air Canada Centre this Saturday, May 13 to take on the Toronto Rock (10-9) in Game 1 of the NLL East Division Finals. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m. ET and the game will be streamed on NLLTV.com. Toronto defeated New England 18-10 in the East Division Semifinals at home last Saturday to setup a matchup versus the Swarm.
Georgia and Toronto will play Game 2 of the East Division Finals from Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena on Saturday, May 20. Faceoff is set for 7:05 p.m. ET and the game will be streamed live on Twitter to a global audience. The game is presented by Axiom Corporation. If the series is tied 1-1 after the two games, a 10-minute mini-game (Game 3) will take place after Game 2 at Infinite Energy Arena.
The Swarm has partnered with 680 The Fan to host #10KDay on May 20 to pack the The Hive for the team's first-ever home playoff game. Playoff Tickets start as low as $20 and are available by calling 844-4-GASWARM or by visiting GeorgiaSwarm.com/Playoff
Georgia and Toronto faced each other twice this year and split the season series. Both teams won on the road in overtime. Georgia took the first game off a Johnny Powless goal 46 seconds into overtime for a 13-12 victory at Air Canada Centre on Feb. 17. Toronto returned the favor with a goal from Reid Reinholdt 44 seconds into overtime of the second game to come out on top 12-11 from Infinite Energy Arena on March 24.
“What happened in the regular season is in the history books now,” head coach Ed Comeau said. “We’re focusing on where we’re at as a team, and I’m sure they’re focusing on where they’re at as a team. Whatever happened in the regular season doesn’t mean much right now. We know they play well at home, especially in front of a big and vocal home crowd. We expect hostile territory and are excited to get the 2017 playoffs started.”
Toronto’s 18-10 victory over New England last Saturday, was helped by Brett Hickey’s eight points (2G, 6A) and NLL Rookie of the Year frontrunner Tom Schreiber’s seven points (4G, 3A). Brandon Miller got the win between the pipes after NLL Goaltender of the Year candidate Nick Rose was chased from the net within the first 13 minutes.
Having spent the bye week resting and recuperating, Georgia is now ready to defend its No. 1 ranking. MVP frontrunner Lyle Thompson will lead the Swarm with his 116 points (45G, 71A). In the season series, he has 12 points (1G, 11A). Team captain Jordan MacIntosh has gone 30-for-48 in faceoffs against Toronto and goaltender Mike Poulin has made 100 saves in the two contests, while finishing the season series with an 11.85 GAA.
“Off weeks during the season are exactly that,” Comeau said. “They’re off weeks where people really use the time to do other things. We used the time to be together as a team and practice, hopefully continue getting better as a team.”
The Swarm went a franchise-best 13-5 in the regular season and featured one of the most well-balanced offensive attacks in league history. Georgia scored an NLL record 266 goals and became the first team in league history to feature five players with 70 points or more.