(UNCASVILLE, Conn.) – The Georgia Swarm (7-10) saw its three-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday night as it fell 21-11 to the New England Black Wolves (10-6) at Mohegan Sun Arena. Despite the loss, the Swarm still remains in the third and final playoff spot in the East Division heading into the final week of the regular season and clinch a playoff spot next Saturday at home with a win against the Vancouver Stealth.
Georgia got off to a fast start against the Black Wolves and appeared to be on pace for its fourth-straight victory after building a 5-3 lead at the end of the first quarter. New England used a four-goal run late in the second quarter however to energize its home crowd and entered halftime ahead 9-6. The Swarm showed great resilience to start the second half, scoring the first three goals to tie the game at nine. The Black Wolves answered right back however with three of their own, and never looked back from that point on.
“They were very good tonight, and we weren’t,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “… In this league, you have to show up to play and if you don’t, that’s the outcome you get.”
For the second time this season in New England, rookie Jesse King scored four goals to lead the Swarm on offense. The lefty forward also scored four goals during the Swarm’s narrow 16-15 loss in New England back on Feb. 28. Fellow rookie forward Randy Staats (2G, 3A) made some headlines of his own as he tied the NLL’s single-season rookie assists record at 54. Staats leads the Swarm in scoring this season with 88 points (34G, 54A) and will have the chance to break the single-season rookie points record of 89 next weekend at home.
After losing to the Black Wolves, the Swarm needed some help from the Buffalo Bandits Saturday night to remain in the third playoff spot in the East. The Bandits delivered by defeating Rochester 15-13 on the road, which dropped the Knighthawks to 6-10 on the season. The Swarm currently leads Rochester by a .5 game in the standings and holds the head-to-head tiebreaker.
“As it often happens in this league, it’s going to come down to the last game of the season to see who’s in and who’s out,” Comeau said. “It’s obviously huge for us, we’d love to see a big crowd there supporting us at home. We’ve played well at home the last few games. We’re going to be ready; we’ll put this one in the rearview mirror and re-group. We know Vancouver has been up-and-down this year, but they have lots of talent and lots of proud guys there; they’re going to come ready.”
Forward Shayne Jackson tallied five points (3G, 2A) on the night, and currently leads the Swarm with a career-high 36 goals this season. On New England’s side, forward Shawn Evans posted a game-high 11 points (5G, 6A) and goalie Evan Kirk collected the win after making 45 saves on 56 shots.
Next Saturday at 7:05 p.m., the Swarm is celebrating Fan Appreciation Night where the first 2,000 fans will receive a team poster and following the game, all Swarm players, coaches and team mascot Stinger will be available for autographs and photos on the turf.
The Swarm has also teamed up with Terrapin Beer Co. to host its inaugural Half-K Race prior to the game where fans can be a part of a special beer tasting event on the main concourse level starting at 5 p.m. To purchase tickets, call 844-4-GASWARM or visit georgiaswarm.com/fanappreciation
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