The Georgia Swarm (2-0) continued to make history, this time downing the Philadelphia Wings (0-1) by a final score of 12-6 to earn Swarm head coach Ed Comeau his 100th career regular season win. The Swarm defense handled the Wings at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field, holding an opponent to single digits for a second consecutive game.
Comeau joins Derek Keenan, Darris Kilgour, and Troy Cordingley as the only coaches in NLL history to amass 100 career regular season wins.
“You get some of these milestones, just means you’ve been around awhile, which is a good thing. It also means I’ve been on a lot of great teams, a lot of great organizations. I said to (Swarm Owner and General Manager) John (Arlotta) happy to do that here, but all of those things are team things. I was more excited about getting a win, going 2-0, and winning at home against a divisional team. That was huge.”
Goaltender Mike Poulin turned in another stellar performance, making 42 saves on 48 SOG to finish with a .875 SV%. After tonight’s performance, his seasonal numbers remain impressively high with a 4.33 GAA and a .907 SV%. He surpassed 2,000 saves in his tenure with the Swarm.
The Swarm’s penalty kill team was particularly impressive as they prevented the Wings from recording a single power play goal despite having four man-advantage situations. Having allowed just two power play goals against in 12 opportunities, the Swarm’s special teams are operating at an 83.3% penalty kill efficiency.
“Once again, it really comes down to execution, and we’ve got a number of guys defensively that are getting sticks in lanes or picking up key loose balls, and offensively, we’re really moving the ball well and finding our shots,” Comeau noted. “I think it’s a group effort, but certainly if you want to be successful in this league, you have to have really high contributions from your special teams, and we’re getting that so far.”
Saturday’s contest started sloppily as both teams struggled to make shots find the net. The Swarm eventually settled down, with Bryan Cole tallying the night’s first goal. Cory Vitarelli responded for the visiting team, but Randy Staats capped the first quarter’s scoring.
Up 2-1, the Swarm added on three more goals in the second quarter. The Wings responded with two of their own to cut the Swarm’s early lead, but Jordan Hall’s lone goal of the night widened the lead again. As the teams went back to their locker rooms at halftime, the Swarm were still up, 6-3.
Dictating the pace again, the Swarm opened up the third quarter quickly with two goals from Shayne Jackson. Wings forward Kevin Crowley found himself on an island and managed to score unmolested, and Lyle Thompson netted his hat trick goal to keep the Swarm in the lead after 15 more minutes, 9-4.
Miles Thompson joined in on the scoring before Lyle’s fast break goal in the fourth quarter gave him the same points as he recorded in the Season Opener two weeks ago, four goals and three assists. The Wings got two goals back, but Adam Wiedemann had the final say of the night with a hesitation shot right on the crease. The Swarm improved to 2-0 with their 12-6 victory.
Saturday’s win also marked the fifth consecutive Home Opener win for the Swarm, who have yet to drop a Home Opener while in Georgia.
Zach Higgins spent most of the night in net for the Wings, finishing with a 12.24 GAA and a .745 SV%. Offensively, Crowley (2G, 2A) and Kiel Matisz (1G, 3A) each recorded four points.
For the Swarm, Poulin shone behind his steady defense and handed out an assist on a Lyle goal for good measure.
“We’re just not giving up easy shots, you know what I mean?” Lyle said about Poulin’s efforts. “We’re giving up the shots that Poulie wants to see. It’s allowing him to – he’s the best goalie in the league. When you’re giving up shots that are easy for him to save, it definitely gives us a little more confidence and a little more comfort on our end of the floor.”
Lyle’s seven points led the Swarm again, and Hall (1G, 4A), Staats (1G, 4A), and Jackson (3G, 2A) all posted five points apiece.
“I like to think I still have a few years until I’m in my prime. I feel like that’s the sort of attitude you have to have if you want to continue to produce consistently,” Lyle said.
The Swarm take another bye week before returning to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena on Saturday, Dec. 28 to welcome the Colorado Mammoth (0-1). Face-off is set for 7:00 p.m. ET.
The Swarm are celebrating Family Night, getting into the holiday spirit with an evening full of special offers, entertainment, and a celebration of this special time of year. Tickets are available by visiting GeorgiaSwarm.com/FamilyNight or by calling 844-4-GASWARM.