The Georgia Swarm (2-3) were unable to prevent a tenacious New York Riptide (1-5) from posting a seven-goal fourth quarter, ultimately losing in overtime, 13-12. The Swarm’s third consecutive loss gave the expansion club its historic first win.
“Losses don’t sit well with any of our team, coaches, or management,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “Disappointing in this one that we had the lead, and we had control of the game going into the fourth quarter, and we took our foot off the gas and gave up a lot of goals. Credit to New York and congrats to them, but certainly a lot of disappointment within our entire team right now.”
The first quarter was a relatively quiet affair, as all three goals in the quarter were scored in the final four minutes. Jordan Hall kicked things off, but the Swarm were still down 2-1 at the end of the first frame.
Kieran McArdle widened the Riptide’s lead to two goals with his second of the night. Then Zach Miller, playing in his first NLL game since leaving the San Diego Seals’ inaugural game injured in Dec. 2018, netted his first NLL goal in transition. The Swarm had acquired Miller before the 2019 NLL Entry Draft, and he came off the Injured Reserve to replace Bryan Cole, who was injured against the Buffalo Bandits on Jan. 11.
“We were very happy and pleased,” Comeau said. “He worked hard. Coming back and really not being able to have a full training camp of contact and coming out there and playing, we thought he did really well. He’s going to continue to get better when he gets more accustomed to the game speed. Again, really liked what he did and happy to see him back out there battling.”
Hall found the back of the net for a second time, this time on the power play. Lyle Thompson and Miller capped the quarter, and the Swarm went to the locker room with a 5-3 lead.
Halfway through a seven-goal run, the Swarm steadily poured on the pressure. Shayne Jackson recorded a natural hat trick to kick the second half off. The veteran forward has posted a hat trick in every Swarm game this season. While Tyson Gibson scored back-to-back goals, Zed Williams widened the Swarm’s lead with under a second left on the clock. As the buzzer sounded, the Swarm found themselves up 9-5.
The Riptide kept things close, trading blows with the Swarm early in the fourth quarter. But the Swarm let the Riptide claw their way back, and the two teams were tied up at 10 goals apiece with 7:03 min. left in the game.
Dan Lomas’s hat trick gave the Riptide their second lead of the game before Lyle used what surely would have been astounding heroics with back-to-back goals, putting the score at 12-11 in the Swarm’s favor. Gale Thorpe, son of Riptide General Manager and Head Coach Regy Thorpe, had different plans, scoring on the extra attacker with 1.3 seconds left.
To overtime the East Division Rivals went. Alex Woodall, who went 20-for-28 in the face-off circle, won the draw, and the two teams sallied with a pair of shots. Riptide captain Dan MacRae found himself in a 2-on-1 transition situation in the Swarm’s favor and pulled up. The Swarm slowed to adjust to the oncoming Riptide offense, and MacRae displayed his veteran chops by immediately pulling the trigger for a farside bouncer past Mike Poulin, giving the Riptide their first franchise win, 13-12.
Jackson led the Swarm with six points (3G, 3A) despite leaving a portion of the third quarter injured. Hall was next in points with five (2G, 3A), followed by four goals for Lyle. Poulin’s third consecutive loss saw him play 62:09 min. He posted a 12.55 GAA and .729 SV%.
Alex Buque earned his first win in a Riptide uniform. His 11.58 GAA and .755 SV% were enough to keep the home team in the game. Travis Longboat led the Riptide with six assists, followed by Lomas’s five points (3G, 2A) and Tyler Digby’s five assists.
The three-game East Division road trip continues for the Swarm in Mohegan Sun Arena as they take on the undefeated New England Black Wolves (4-0) on Sunday, Jan. 26. Face-off is set for 1:00 p.m. ET.
“We’re going to look at ourselves,” Comeau concluded. “Right now, we’ve got to fix ourselves before we start worrying about other teams. So, that’s going to be a focus and have some tough conversations and have some dialogue with players and really work on trying to get ourselves to a spot where we’re playing to our potential and certainly playing 60 minute games.”
Fans can catch the action live on B/R Live.
The Swarm’s next home game is on Saturday, Feb. 15. Celebrating College Night, the Swarm rematch against the New York Riptide is set for 7:30 p.m. ET at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena. Fans can get tickets at GeorgiaSwarm.com/CollegeNight or by calling 844-4-GASWARM.