(Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017) – The 2017 NLL World Champion Georgia Swarm defeated the Rochester Knighthawks 12-5 in preseason action Saturday evening at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena in Six Nations, Ontario.
Georgia dominated on both sides of the ball and improved to 1-1 to finish out the preseason. The Swarm will begin their title defense when they open the 2017-18 NLL Regular Season next Friday evening with a road showdown against the New England Black Wolves at 7:30 p.m.
Georgia’s victory on Saturday was highlighted by a strong defensive performance as Rochester was held without a goal during the first 29 minutes of action. Mike Poulin played in the first half and was stellar in net as the Swarm headed into the locker room with a 5-1 advantage.
“We talked about being aggressive and communicating well on defense, and I think we did a really good job,” head coach Ed Comeau said. “… I thought all three of our goalies played really well. You know, your goalie is your best defender and they made some great saves for us tonight. I thought defensively in general, we did a nice job of applying pressure.
“We want to get better each and every night and I thought we got better tonight. We played well as a team.”
The Swarm extended their lead to 10-2 early in the fourth quarter when Johnny Powless connected on his second goal of the evening. Georgia rotated several players in-and-out of the lineup against the Knighthawks, as Kevin Orleman (1 GA) replaced Poulin in the third, and then Warren Hill (3 GA) finished the game in the fourth.
On offense, Georgia featured its usual balanced scoring attack. In the first quarter, defensemen Alex Crepinsek and Connor Sellars got the Swarm on the board with two scores in transition. Miles Thompson led the team with a hat trick, while Kiel Matisz and Johnny Powless each tallied two goals.
Having announced the team’s final 20-man roster and practice squad last week, Georgia was able to get more repetitions with its core players against Rochester. The team got a nice boost when Jason Noble and John Ranagan returned to the floor this weekend after both had missed the previous preseason contest against Saskatchewan.
“We had the group back together on the backdoor which was great,” captain Jordan MacIntosh said. “As the year went on last year, we got pretty cohesive and you could kind of see that tonight. With the season approaching so quickly, we’re just getting more familiar with our process, our systems. Tonight was a great test against a really good Eastern Division team.”
The Swarm’s Dec. 30 home opener will feature the unveiling of the Championship Banner and a halftime performance by Atlanta-based GRAMMY® Award-winning hip hop artist 2 Chainz. Tickets for this historic night are available at GeorgiaSwarm.com/Tickets or by calling 844-4-GASWARM.