(Oakville, Ontario) – The Georgia Swarm kicked off preseason play against the Toronto Rock Saturday night, but came up short in the win column, falling 10-8 at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre. Georgia officially opened the first of its three training camp weekends on Friday evening in preparation for the 2017 NLL Season.
With 29 players currently in contention for roster spots, the Swarm’s coaching staff featured different lineups in the first and second half against the Rock in attempt to see as many players as possible in game situations.
“We had a lot of guys that had their first taste of NLL action tonight,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “… Disappointed with the result and thought we had some really good chances and didn’t finish as well as I thought we could have. All in all, it’s something to build on and it gives us the realization that in this league, it’s hard work and you have to come ready to work no matter who you’re playing.”
Several offseason acquisitions made their Swarm debuts against Toronto, including goalie Mike Poulin, forward Jordan Hall, and first-round picks Bryan Cole and Connor Sellars. Poulin appeared in about 20 minutes of action, as the team split up goaltending duties with the four goalies currently on the roster.
“It was something I had been looking forward to for a long time,” said Poulin, who signed a three-year contract with Georgia this offseason after spending the last six-and-a-half seasons with Calgary. “To get out here and play in a real game, and go through the motions was definitely exciting.”
Saturday’s contest remained close all night long until the Rock escaped late with the game’s final two goals in the fourth quarter. The Swarm trailed 5-3 early in the second half, but rattled off four-straight goals to re-take a 7-5 lead in the third quarter.
Georgia was led by three goals from forward Kiel Matisz, who converted the Swarm’s first two scores of the game on power play chances.
“Today was not really the result we wanted, but I felt pretty good out there and felt healthy,” Matisz said. “Guys were getting me open and giving me the chance to get a look and shoot the ball. It was a good start for me, but for the team it was more something to build off of today.”
The Swarm also received a goal in the third quarter from rookie forward Matt Kristiansen, who played his college ball at Shorter University in Rome, Ga.
Georgia opens the season at home against the two-time defending champion Saskatchewan Rush on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 7:05 p.m. ET from Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena. Fans can purchase Single-Game Tickets for all nine home games at www.GeorgiaSwarm.com/SingleGame
The Swarm is currently offering a special Home Opener Ticket & T-Shirt Package for only $99! Fans will receive (3) Lower-Level Sideline Tickets and (3) Swarm T-Shirts (a 4th Ticket and T-Shirt can be added to the package for only $20!). Call 844-4-GASWARM for purchasing info!
Photo Credit: Zach Fletcher