(Saturday, Dec. 19) – The Georgia Swarm remained perfect in preseason action Saturday night with a 17-12 victory against the Toronto Rock in Oakville, Ontario. Georgia finished the preseason with a 2-0 record and will officially wrap up training camp on Sunday before opening the regular season on Jan. 1 in Colorado.
The Swarm’s offense was clicking on all cylinders at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre, finishing 6-for-7 on the power play and featured a trio of hat tricks from ’15 No. 1 overall pick Lyle Thompson, Josh Gillam and Randy Staats. Forwards Kiel Matisz, Miles Thompson and Johnny Powless also added two goals apiece to help fuel the Swarm’s attack.
“We’re all coming together well,” Lyle Thompson said. “Like I said on draft day: chemistry is not going to be a problem for this team. Three weeks of practice here, we’re obviously going to get better and start meshing. You’re definitely seeing it, putting up 17 goals in a game.”
On the other side of the ball, goaltender Zach Higgins played all but the final 12 minutes of action and held Toronto to nine goals, which included several penalty kills on the night. Georgia’s speed was also evident in transition throughout the game, as Jordan MacIntosh and Alex Crepinsek each scored streaking goals on fastbreak chances.
For the second straight week, Gillam scored the game’s opening goal for the Swarm and finished the first quarter with two scores as Georgia built an early 3-2 lead. The Swarm then added six scores in the second quarter, which featured two from Matisz, who has made the switch from defense to offense this season. Georgia led 9-7 at halftime.
Toronto kept things close to start the third after cutting the score to 9-8, but Georgia caught fire and finished the quarter on a 4-goal run to build a comfortable 13-8 advantage. All four goals in the third came on power play opportunities as penalties plagued the Rock all evening.
“We capitalized there,” Comeau said. “And if teams are going to take penalties, that’s what you have to do in this league; we were happy with that. I thought we did a great job of getting off the floor too, and pressing in certain situations.”
After trading scores to start the fourth, the Swarm went on another run, this time three-straight goals to build its largest lead of the night at 16-10. The Swarm’s final score featured the brotherly connection of Miles Thompson to Lyle Thompson, which gave the No.1 pick a hat trick on the night.
“It just makes everything more comfortable,” Lyle said on playing with his brother, Miles. “Any time I play with him, I play with a lot more confidence… That will boost you up a lot and help you play better.”
Next up on the Swarm’s schedule is a New Years Day showdown at Pepsi Center against the Colorado Mammoth at 9:30 p.m. ET to open the 2016 NLL regular season.
“We’re all really proud of what the guys did and it’s something to build on, but as I said last week, I’d rather be 2-0 in the regular season than in the exhibition season,” Comeau said. “We did some good things but it resets to zero and it starts for real on January 1st.”
The Swarm will host its inaugural home opener at Infinite Energy Arena on Saturday, Jan. 9 against the Toronto Rock for a 7:05 p.m. faceoff. Call 844-4-GASWARM to purchase Single-Game Tickets and all Swarm home games feature FREE PARKING.