The Georgia Swarm (5-3) exploded for a nine-goal second quarter for a 14-9 redemption win against the New York Riptide (1-9) at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena.
Ten different players found the back of the net for the Swarm, and goaltender Mike Poulin made franchise and NLL history. He recorded his 39th win as a Swarm netminder, surpassing Nick Patterson’s 38. He also made 33 saves, passing Steve Dietrich for sole possession of sixth most saves in NLL history.
“Three-and-a-half seasons, and 39, that’s something I think our whole team should be proud of because those are 10-plus win seasons, and those aren’t easy to do in this league,” Poulin said of his milestones. “I’m proud of that as the goalie, but I’ll deflect all the attention to the D in front of me and the O guys putting the ball in the back of the net.”
Both teams started slow. Tyler Digby opened the scoring for the game, but Zed Williams answered with back-to-back goals to put the Swarm up 2-1.
The Swarm offense and transition game exploded in the second quarter. Nine different Swarm players netted a goal, including four defenseman. Both teams went to their locker rooms with the Swarm up comfortably, 11-3.
“We talked a lot about just moving the ball and really moving our feet,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “I thought we did that, especially in the first half. First half, I thought we were really good, and we had a lot of good looks … Just moving our feet, moving the ball, that’s our success, and that’s going to continue to be our success.”
Photo Credit: Kyle Hess
The Riptide challenged in the second half, outscoring the Swarm 6-3. Lyle Thompson was the lone Swarm goal in the third quarter, as New York’s three goals cut their deficit to just 12-6.
Dan Lomas further snipped the goal differential down to just five goals before Randy Staats’ second goal of the night put the Swarm up 13-7. Connor Kelly’s second of the night put the Riptide back within five. Lyle’s hat trick goal and Kieran McArdle where the final tallies of the night, and the Swarm won their third consecutive game by a score of 14-9.
Lyle’s three goals led the Swarm in goals, as the only other players with multiple goals were Williams and Staats. His seven-game streak of recording a hat trick may have been snapped, but Shayne Jackson still led the Swarm men in points with six assists.
Poulin finished the night with a 9.00 GAA and a .786 SV%.
The Riptide were led in scoring by Kelly and Lomas, both with five points (2G, 3A) the same way. Alex Buque was chased from his station in the second quarter, and Gowah Abrams played the remainder of the game. Buque ended the game with a 21.12 GAA and .650 SV%. Abrams earned the loss, as he posted a 10.47 GAA and a .720 SV%.
In a week, the Swarm welcome the Calgary Roughnecks (3-4) to Infinite Energy Arena on Saturday, Feb. 22 Face-off is set for 7:00 p.m., and fans can get tickets at GeorgiaSwarm.com/LadiesNight or by calling 844-4-GASWARM.
“Calgary’s going to get back (2019 NLL MVP) Dane Dobbie, I believe,” Comeau said. “They’re a good team. They’re well-coached. They battle hard; they’re physical. We expect a close-checking physical game. They have good goaltending, as well. They run the floor. I think it’s going to be a fast-paced game, physical on both ends of the floor.”
Hosting Ladies Night, the Swarm have teamed up with Tara Fine Jewelry for their third annual Diamond Drop. At halftime, women who register at GeorgiaSwarm.com/DD-RSVP-NSTM will try and grab the falling parachutes for the winning one, which has a diamond necklace valued at $30,000.
Next Saturday’s game will air in the Metro Atlanta area on Atlanta’s CW69 and over the radio on Atlanta Sports X 1230AM/106.3FM.