DULUTH, Ga. (February 12, 2022) – The last-place New York Riptide entered Gas South Arena Saturday night with a tall task at hand, but with two of the top-ten scorers in the lead and a habit of playing teams very close, former Swarm assistant and now Riptide Head Coach Dan Ladouceur had plenty of motivation to get back into contention and make things difficult for Swarm team that was falling behind in the East Division race. But Head Coach Eddie Comeau brought his team fully prepared for anything New York had to offer.
A trio of Swarm hat tricks (Lyle Thompson – 4G, 3A; Shayne Jackson – 3G, 3A; and Brendan Bomberry – 3G, 1A) ended any doubt in a game Georgia had in control from the opening faceoff and eventually capped off a 13-11 win that was only that close because of a pair of last-minute Riptide goals that never threatened the overall result. Chad Tutton forced two turnovers in the win eclipsing his 100th career caused turnover. Tutton is the second Swarm player to achieve this milestone since 2011 along with teammate Jordan MacIntosh.
The win improved the Swarm to 4-5 on the season, while New York fell deeper into the East cellar at 1-7.
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With four of the NLL’s top-seven goal scorers in the league (Lyle Thompson, Callum Crawford, rookie Jeff Teat, and Shayne Jackson) heading into tonight’s contest, one would expect goal horns and smoke cannons to be plentiful. But the game started slowly after the first quarter yielded just a shorthanded Bomberry blast that put Georgia up 1-0 at the end of the first frame. Mike Poulin, who was sharp all evening, saved 42-of-53 shots on the night and all 14 of New York’s shots in the first quarter.
Poulin leads the NLL in saves with 325 after tonight’s stellar showing.
Seconds into the second quarter, Thompson ignited the raucous Native Heritage Night crowd with a goal after a nice feed from TJ Comizio and Robert Hudson.
The Riptide pulled even at 2-2, but not for long, as the Swarm took an advantage on the subsequent possession as Georgia made a great defensive stand in their own zone and after a quick transition had numbers the other way. Jackson found Comizio in front, who went five-hole against former teammate Steve Orleman to put Eddie Comeau’s squad up by one. The tie score early in the second quarter was the closest New York would come on the night, as Swarm never trailed in the game.
Lyle Thompson extended the lead to 4-2 midway through the second after a nice feed from rookie Jeff Henrick.
After a Riptide goal pulled it back to within one, Jordan Hall, playing in his 201st NLL game, took a perfect transition pass from Comizio in stride and rung up Orleman for the Swarm’s fifth tally and another two-goal lead with 5 minutes left in the half.
Bomberry made it a three-goal affair when he found the net with 2:14 in the fall to put the good guys up three. Reigning NLL MVP Shane Jackson notched his second assist on the night, locating a wide-open Bomberry near the left crease for an easy shot past a leaky Orleman.
The two teams headed to halftime with the Swarm doubling up on the Riptide, 6-3.
Just 19 seconds into the quarter, Bryan Cole found Jackson open at the top of the crease, and the lethal forward found the net to extend the Swarm’s lead to 4 goals at 7-3.
Just a minute later captain Jordan MacIntosh located Bomberry, who snaked a perfect missile past Orleman for his hat trick as the Swarm started to create some distance from the visiting Riptide with a five-goal advantage. That didn’t last long, as less than a minute later New York responded as Jake Fox snuck one past Poulin after a nice assist from rookie Jeff Teat, who finished with a hat trick of his own to go with his 6 assists.
The 8-4 lead held firm for five more minutes before Crawford slipped a power-play past Poulin 6:17 into the third, but the Swarm answered just seconds later when Ethan Walker fed Thompson who logged his 4th hat trick of the season to put the Swarm up 8-5 with 8:40 remaining in the frame. But again, as was the trend in the third quarter, the Riptide immediately responded with a second-straight Crawford goal to cut the Swarm lead to 9-6.
Adam Wiedemann hit the penalty box for the Swarm shortly thereafter, but Georgia wore down the New York power play unit to kill the two-minute man-advantage. On the evening, the Swarm didn’t convert their only power play opportunity, but killed 2-of-3 of the Riptide’s.
Two quick goals from Teat and Larson Sundown closed out the third quarter and pulled New York within one, but Lyle Thompson fed Walker for a close-range blast to stop New York’s three-goal stretch and give the Swarm some breathing room heading into the fourth quarter, with Georgia up 10-8 with 15 minutes remaining in regulation.
The game was highlighted by a memorable Native Heritage Night, filled with educational programs, performances, craft vendors, and other demonstrations of Native culture that had the 9,188 in attendance enthralled throughout the evening.
UP NEXT: The Swarm (4-5) travel to Halifax on March 19 (4-1) in a crucial East Division clash then return home to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Gas South Arena on March 4 to face Rochester (2-5) in a rematch of a Swarm 12-8 victory on January 21. Tickets for the March 4 game vs. Rochester begin at just $12 a seat, and the game can be seen live locally in Atlanta on Peachtree TV and streaming live in the US on ESPN+. The Swarm theme night for the evening is the ever-popular Ladies Night.