It was not the way they wanted to start their doubleheader weekend as the Georgia Swarm (4-1) fell 14-9 to the Toronto Rock (4-1) in Scotiabank Arena on Friday night.
The Swarm were prevented from scoring in the first quarter as the Rock rattled off four goals. Playing catchup for the rest of the game, the Swarm could not build momentum in their East Division rival’s barn. Both teams are now tied for first in the East Division.
“(Toronto) played really good defense early and did a really good job,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “Their goalie made some big saves. We got down, and so we were fighting it all night. We got better as the night went on, but we dug too much of a hole and had to take some chances at the end to try and get ourselves back in. That stuff happens, and we’ve got to move on and focus on tomorrow night now.”
Shayne Jackson got the Swarm on the board, using a long pass from Mike Poulin to beat the Rock defense. Lyle Thompson then scored a penalty shot, putting the Swarm back within two. With 13:52 min. left in the second quarter, the Rock were only up 4-2.
The two teams traded goals, with the Swarm’s third goal of the night a shorthanded goal courtesy of Jackson. Toronto netted two more, and Georgia responded in kind with a power play goal from Randy Staats and Holden Cattoni’s lone goal of the night. At halftime, the Rock were still in the lead, 7-5.
The Rock controlled most of the third quarter. After a run of three goals from Toronto, Lyle found the back of the net two times, and Staats narrowed the gap back to two goals. It was 9-7 at the end of the third quarter.
Jordan MacIntosh scored the Swarm’s lone goal of the fourth quarter unassisted. The Swarm were unable to beat the Rock defense as the Rock offense netted four more goals. Brock Sorensen’s empty net goal with a little over a minute left in the game was the dagger, and the Rock evened the season series against the Swarm with a 14-9 win.
Lyle (3G, 1A), Cattoni (1G, 3A) and Staats (2G, 2A) all had four points on Friday night. Poulin earned his first loss of the season after allowing 13 goals against. He finished the night with a .717 SV%.
For Toronto, Rob Hellyer led the team with six points (2G, 1A). Tom Schreiber had five points (1G, 4A), and Dan Craig (3G, 1A) and Kieran McArdle (1G, 3A) had four points apiece. Nick Rose finished the night between the pipes with an .816 SV%.
The Swarm have a short turnaround. They head to Mohegan Sun Arena to take on the New England Black Wolves (2-1) on Saturday, Jan. 19. The Swarm will be looking to bounce back and will need to have a short memory concerning tonight’s game.
“That’s always the way it is,” Comeau said. “It’s always good after you lose a game like that, you got a chance to get back at it tomorrow night and play a team that’s sitting there watching, waiting. We know we’re going to have to be much better tomorrow night, and I believe the guys will be focused, and they’re going to want to get a road win here.”
Faceoff is set for 7:00 p.m. ET. Fans can catch the game on the B/R Live app available through iTunes, Google Play, Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire.
Play of the Game:
The Swarm’s play of the game came during pregame warmups. After Georgia’s game in Philadelphia in which disparaging comments were made about Lyle during the game, the Swarm wore warmup t-shirts with a braid on the back. During the game, the Swarm helmets featured a braid sticker, showing the team’s support of Lyle and its six other Native athletes.
Photo Credit: Ryan McCullough
“It means a lot, especially coming from the whole Swarm organization,” Lyle said in an interview with Brian Shanahan before the game. “I saw the support from my teammates right after the game last week, so that meant a lot for ownership and the Georgia Swarm organization to really continue to move forward and not just leave it where it left off, to continue to push something that was important to me and something – that situation, just to bring awareness. I think that’s important, but I think it just shows the character we have on this team and the whole organization.”
“It was a show of solidarity for Lyle and for our Native players,” Comeau said, “and also just a message of the diversity of our game and how important the Native heritage and their culture is to lacrosse. It was a nice touch by the Swarm organization. Again, we want other people to learn and understand, and we think that’s important.”