(DENVER) – After its best start since the 2008 season, the Georgia Swarm (4-1) has finally tasted defeat in 2017, falling 14-10 against the Colorado Mammoth (3-3) in front of 15,524 fans at Pepsi Center Saturday evening.
After pulling out a thrilling road victory last weekend in Vancouver to remain undefeated, the Swarm just couldn't slow down a Mammoth squad who fed off its home crowd all night long. While there were spectacular moments from Georgia offensively and defensively, Colorado dominated the time of possession and rebounds to stampede its way to its third win of the season.
“You never feel good after a loss,” head coach Ed Comeau said, “but we got what we deserved tonight. Colorado was the better team. They played with more energy; they played with more passion, and that’s a lesson learned for our guys. You’ve got to bring it every night, or this is what happens.”
“The things that were making us successful early in the season, we didn’t really do or execute on tonight,” team captain Jordan MacIntosh said. “That’s tough, but it’s good to learn that lesson here early in the season, and we can build off that and improve.”
Defense was the name of the game for the first quarter as both teams stifled the opposition’s offense handily. Colorado scored the first goal of the game off a goal from Callum Crawford and never lost the lead throughout the night. Lyle Thompson would retaliate almost nine minutes later to tie it up, and the quarter ended 1-1.
The second quarter saw Colorado and Georgia trading goals until it was 3-3 with nearly 11 minutes left to play. Colorado went on a tear – led by Crawford – to take the lead 7-3. Both Miles Thompson and his brother Lyle would respond, but Zack Greer would have the last word in the quarter for Colorado and put his Mammoth up 8-5. Georgia went back to the locker room at the half without the lead for the first time this season.
“Eddie is very calming,” MacIntosh said, “so when we get in there, just trying to figure out what those things are that weren’t helping us win the game and how we can alleviate them. Really the biggest thing is just making sure that we’re staying banded together … Although we were on the losing end, we did that well tonight. We stayed together, didn’t turn on each other. We battled until that last buzzer.”
Georgia’s woes continued into the third quarter. Another low-scoring quarter resulted in both teams only scoring one goal each. Chris Wardle for the Mammoth and Miles were the only players able to find the net during those 15 minutes, ending the third quarter 9-6 in favor of Colorado.
The bad times kept on rolling for Georgia as Colorado repeated every previous quarter by scoring first, this time from Greer off a shot under Mike Poulin. Lyle answered, but Jacob Ruest responded with back-to-back goals putting victory out of reach for the Swarm. Shayne Jackson, Kiel Matisz, and Lyle tried to rally Georgia to no avail, and Colorado killed the clock, handing Georgia its first loss.
Jordan Hall was held pointless for the first time all season. Poulin was not between the pipes the whole game for the first time since the Swarm’s season opener, finishing with a 14.13 GAA and a .714 SV%. Lyle matched his season-high with four goals.
“… There’s a lot of things that weren’t real good tonight, but it happens in this league,” Comeau said, “and we move on and focus on next week and being better next week at home … New England has a little momentum going on right now, and we got a little bit of a slap in the face here. They’re going to come in hungry looking to play better than they did last time down in Georgia, and we’re going to have to get back to what we do well and be ready to compete.”
Georgia will try to shake off their loss as they return home to take on rival – the New England Black Wolves (2-3) – for an East Division rematch at Harrah’s Cherokee Field at Infinite Energy Arena on Feb. 11. Faceoff is set for 7:05 p.m. ET. For only $27, fans can purchase a lower level ticket and Swarm scarf package for Saturday’s game. Call 844-4-GASWARM or visit GeorgiaSwarm.com/Scarf for tickets.
Play of the Game:
Even with a loss, Georgia’s offense still operated beautifully at times. In the third quarter, MacIntosh deflected a Mammoth pass in their end, scooped the ball up, and immediately passed it to Miles. Faster than you could say Thompson, Miles bolted a shot behind the back and into the upper left corner of the net. His goal will no doubt show up on SportsCenter’s Top 10 for Saturday night.
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