DULUTH, Ga (March 12, 2022) – When these two teams played in Halifax (8-3) on February 19, very little went right for the visiting Swarm (6-6), much to the apparent chagrin (if you’re one who checks teams’ official social media accounts) of at least some Thunderbirds’ staffers.
Something tells me the previous game’s social snark was extinguished relatively early on during Georgia’s brilliant all-around team win, as the boys in blue jumped out to a four-goal lead after three quarters against the East Division power and held on for a convincing 10-9 victory.
Mike Poulin was brilliant in goal, earning the game’s one-star and saving 42 of the 51 shots rifled his way en route to picking up his 100th career NLL victory – only the fourth goaltender in League history to accomplish that feat. The 42 saves were a season-high for the veteran goalie, topping his 41 saves January 14 at Buffalo and January 21 at Rochester.
After assisting two goals on the night, Jordan Hall recorded his 800th career point. After tonight’s affair, Hall posts 38 points this season (12G, 26A). In 51 games played with Georgia, Hall totals 56 goals and 141 assists.
Warren Hill, who shut down the Swarm’s potent offense several weeks ago, was much less effective to the offensive sets thrown his way Saturday night in frigid Georgia. While Hill stopped 26 of 36 Swarm shots, he wasn’t nearly as sharp as he was on February 19 in Nova Scotia.
Shayne Jackson paced the Swarm on offense for the second straight week with 7 points (2G, 5A), while Brendan Bomberry and Lyle Thompson racked up hat tricks, with Bomberry’s three goals occurring in the first quarter to set the tone for the evening.
The Swarm seem to have found their rhythm in all phases of the game, with their set offense producing several goals, the transition game humming, and a stellar effort on defense in front of the red-hot Poulin.
Georgia was never really challenged in this game, taking an 8-5 lead into halftime and not letting Halifax draw closer until the final minutes of regulation when the Thunderbirds scored the final three goals of the game, including two in the last five minutes.
But Poulin was too much for Halifax head coach Mike Accursi‘s squad, who were stymied time and again by Poulin’s net magic.
The Swarm did struggle on faceoffs, winning only 5 of 23 trips to the dot, but in the end it didn’t matter, as Bryan Cole and the Swarm defense disrupted passing lanes and played toe-t0-toe physically with Halifax forwards, not letting easy shots near the crease.
The Swarm also shut down Halifax’s power play opportunities, allowing only one goal in five man-up advantages. The Swarm converted one of two power play situations, scored by Bomberry in the first frame.
Barring a six-goal sock-trick by the Toronto Rock’s Tom Schreiber later tonight against Vancouver, Lyle Thompson will finish the weekend back on top of the NLL in goals with 34 (one goal ahead of Albany’s Joe Resetarits) and remain at third in the League in points with 70, trailing only Buffalo’s Dhane Smith (82) and Resetarits (76).
With the win and the results throughout the NLL Friday and Saturday, The Swarm now hold the #4 playoff seed in the East Division with 6 games remaining on the 2021-22 slate.