The Georgia Swarm (4-6) fought hard all night long, but a fortuitous roll on a Stephen Keogh shot gave the Colorado Mammoth (6-3) the final lead of the night with under five seconds left. Georgia fell in an 11-10 heartbreaker at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena during Ladies Night.
Penalties played a big part in Friday’s game. Georgia finished with 18 PIM and went 2-7 while man-up. Colorado took 20 PIM but was more efficient on the penalty kill and power play, going 4-6 tonight.
“We’ve said all year we were frustrated we didn’t have many power play opportunities, and we had a boat load tonight and didn’t cash in,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “5-on-3 in this league, you’ve got to score. We had two chances, and we didn’t score. That’s really the difference in the game.”
Randy Staats started the scoring off for the night, but Colorado went to work quickly on the power play, scoring two to take the lead. Jesse King and Staats managed to retake the lead, and Georgia was up at the end of the first quarter, 3-2.
The Mammoth, led by Ryan Benesch, went on a four-goal run to retake and widen the lead to 6-3. The Swarm then went on a four-goal run of its own to put it back up. Georgia was up 7-6 at halftime.
Georgia continued its run into the third quarter as Joel White, playing in his first game this season, made a quick pass to Staats who fed it to Jackson for a goal, widening its lead to two goals. The Mammoth tied things up again minutes later before Lyle Thompson notched his second goal of the night with a running effort. At the end of the third quarter, Georgia still had the lead, 9-8.
King scored his second goal of the night to widen the Swarm’s lead to two goals, but Jacob Ruest and Keogh managed to tie things up once again late in the quarter. With seconds left, Keogh got a shot off that Swarm goaltender Mike Poulin blocked with his leg, but the ball had just enough momentum to continue rolling and cross the line, giving Colorado the 11-10 lead with under five seconds left. That’s how the night would end as Georgia earned its sixth loss of the season.
“I felt bad for Mike Poulin,” Comeau said. “I thought he played well. It was one of those goals that dribbled in that happen in this league. You just hate for them to happen to be the winning goal of the night.”
Keogh (3G, 3A) and Benesch (2G, 4A) each earned six points apiece. Goaltender Dillon Ward made 42 saves on 52 SOG, finishing the night with an .808 SV%.
Staats led the Swarm in points with seven (2G, 5A). Lyle had two goals and two assists to his name. Poulin earned the loss after making 41 saves on 52 SOG, good for a .778 SV%.
Georgia fortunately does not have a full week to let the loss linger as it has a quick turnaround. The team flies to Canada in the morning for a rematch against the Toronto Rock (5-4). The Swarm defeated the East Division Rival with a 14-13 overtime win two weeks ago.
“It’s tough,” Swarm team captain Jordan MacIntosh said. “Luckily, we have another game tomorrow. It’s one we let them hang around too long and it ended up biting us at the end. These are the ones you’re happy you have a back-to-back so you can kind of forget about that and focus on Toronto tomorrow.”
Fans can catch Saturday’s game LIVE via NLLTV.com.
Play of the Game:
The game was filled with a number of awesome goals, but one of the most entertaining parts of the night was the Georgia Swarm’s inaugural Diamond Drop presented by Tara Fine Jewelry Co. Over 100 ladies flooded the turf and awaited 100 parachutes to drop down, all containing a number. The ladies fought frantically for the falling parachutes, getting a little more aggressive as the number of available parachutes dwindled down. When all were down, the winning number, 99, was randomly selected, and Becca L. of Piedmont Women’s Lacrosse walked away with a three-quarter carat diamond necklace worth $7,500. Ladies Night at The Hive was presented by Atlanta Sports X 1230 & 106.3 FM and 680 The Fan.
Diamond Drop winner Becca L. of Piedmont Women’s Lacrosse celebrating | Photo Credit: Kyle Hess