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Swarm Seek .500 Record, Face East Division Power House Thunderbirds

DULUTH, Ga. (February 17, 2022) – The Georgia Swarm (4-5) take a trip up to Nova Scotia, Canada this Saturday, February 19, to take on the Halifax Thunderbirds (5-1).  This marks the first meeting between the Georgia Swarm and the 2019-20 expansion team. The two teams were set to face each other on Sunday, April 19, 2020, at Gas South Arena, but that contest was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Thunderbirds return to Scotiabank Centre for the first time in two weeks after playing the New York Riptide (Feb. 4) and Philadelphia Wings (Feb. 13) at FirstOntario Centre in Toronto, Canada. When Halifax is the home team, the Thunderbirds are 4-0. Two wins came on their home turf at Scotiabank Centre while the others were at FirstOntario Centre.

Both Georgia and Halifax are 2-1 in the last three games, with both teams adding a win to their schedule last week. The Swarm topped the Riptide, 13-11, and the Thunderbirds defeated the Wings, 10-8.

The Thunderbirds are currently ranked second in the East Division standings while the Swarm sit in sixth place. However, Halifax has played three games less than Georgia and have not faced the East Division top-ranked Buffalo Bandits (6-1).

The high-powered Swarm offense ranks second in league goals scored with 103, five goals behind the Philadelphia Wings. Lyle Thompson leads the Swarm offense and the league, as he is ranked first in NLL points (55), goals (25), shots (103), shorthanded points (4), and shorthanded assists (2). Shayne Jackson also plays a key part in the Swarm’s offense as he ranks 12th in league points after scoring 18 goals and giving out 19 assists.

Halifax averages 11.00 goals per game and are led by Chris Boushy’s 11 goals on the season. Clarke Petterson leads his squad in points with eight goals and 14 assists. Stephan Leblanc, sits just behind Petterson in points (20) and topped the squad in points against the Wings last week after notching five (2g, 3a). The Thunderbirds lead the league in goals against holding opponents to 57 goals this season and 9.5 goals per game. In the last three games, Halifax’s backline held foes to a mere 8.66 goals.

Starting netminder Mike Poulin tops the league in minutes played, logging 534:48 minutes. Poulin ranks second in the league in saves, stopping 325 shots this season for a .763 save percentage and an 11.33 goals-against average. In the opposite crease this weekend is Halifax’s Warren Hill, the league’s second ranked goalie in wins (5) and goals-against average (9.06). Poulin has the chance to achieve two career milestones against the Thunderbirds. With a win, he passes Anthony Cosmo for fourth place on the all-time list with 99. If Poulin makes 17 saves, he eclipses the 6,000th of his career and becomes the sixth NLL goalie to do so all-time.

After winning only 8-of-31 (25.8 percent) faceoffs against the Albany FireWolves on Feb. 4, in the last two games Georgia clamped 27-of-56 (48.2 percent). Connor Kirst, TJ Comizio, Kason Tarbell, Jordan MacIntosh, and Vaughn Harris have all stepped up to the dot in the last two games, and Kirst led the way with 20 faceoff wins. The rookie currently leads the team in faceoff wins, conquering 36-of-79 (45.6 percent). Halifax’s Jake Withers ranks fourth in NLL faceoff percentage, claiming 67.4 percent (97-of-144) of faceoffs.

Power-plays are not this weekend’s matchup’s strong suit as Georgia ranks ninth in man-up conversions (15-of-37, 40.5 percent) and Halifax is last in the league (8-of-29, 27.6 percent). However, the Swarm rank third in the league in penalty kills, stopping 24-of-35 (68.6 percent) of man-up opportunities.

After the Swarm make the trip up to Halifax, they head into a bye week. The next time Georgia hits the field it will be on Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Resort Field at Gas South Arena on Friday, March 4. to host the Rochester Knighthawks, who they previously beat this season, 12-8, in Rochester on Jan. 21.

Milestones:

Adam Wiedemann: Needs two loose ball recoveries to reach 200 in his career
Jordan Hall: Is 9 points away from reaching the 800th of his career
Jordan MacIntosh: Needs 15 faceoff wins to pass Stephen Hoar for 6th place in league history with 1,651
Mike Poulin: Needs one win to pass Anthony Cosmo for fourth place on the all-time list with 99 and two wins to become the fourth goaltender all-time with 100 in his career
Mike Poulin: Needs 17 saves to become the sixth goalie all-time with 6,000 career saves
Vaughn Harris: Needs 15 faceoff wins to reach 200 in his career.

Last Time We Took the Field (Saturday February 12, 2022):

  • The Georgia Swarm defeated the New York Riptide for the second time this season; Georgia topped the Riptide, 13-11
  • The Swarm took down the Riptide despite being outshot 53-49
  • Lyle Thompson notched his fourth hat trick of the season after scoring four goals and giving out three assists; Thompson ended the night with a .500 shooting percentage
  • Shayne Jackson registered six points with three goals and three assists, marking Jackson’s fourth hat trick of the season
  • Brendan Bomberry rounded out the trio of Swarm players recording hat tricks; Bomberry finished the game with three goals, one assist and a .428 shooting percentage
  • TJ Comizio gave out a season-best two assists on top of scoring a goal of his own
  • Ethan Walker registered four points after scoring one goal and giving out a season-high three assists
  • Jordan MacIntosh, Chad Tutton, Jeff Henrick, and Ryan MacSpadyen caused two turnovers each; Tutton forced his 100th career turnover becoming the second Swarm player to do so since 2011
  • Connor Kirst won 13-of-18 (72.2 percent) of faceoffs; TJ Comizio took eight faceoffs and claimed three of his own to help the Swarm end the game with a 57.1 faceoff percentage (16-of-28), the third highest of the season
  • Mike Poulin made 42 saves in net ending the game with a .792 save percentage

Swarm Spotlight

  • Georgia totals the second most goals scored in the league, recording 103; the team averages 11.44 goals per game
  • Lyle Thompson leads the NLL in points (55), goals (25), shots (103), shorthanded points (4), and shorthanded assists (2)
  • Shayne Jackson totals four hat tricks on the season and ranks 12th in league points (37) and seventh in goals (18)
  • Mike Poulin tops the league in minutes played in net, logging 534:48; the netminder has saved the second most shots in the league with 325
  • Ethan Walker now sits eighth in NLL rookie points, registering 18; Walker totals 12 assists and six goals and netted a hat trick on Feb. 4 against the Albany FireWolves
  • TJ Comizio leads league rookies in shooting percentage converting 2-of-5 (40.0 percent) shots into goals; Comizio is third in rookie faceoff wins (15) and tied for second in forced turnovers (8)
  • Connor Kirst is ranked second in league rookie loose balls (40), faceoff wins (36) and forced turnovers (8); Kirst clamped a season-best 13 faceoffs against the Riptide on Feb. 12
  • Bryan Cole ranks fifth among league defenders in points, totaling 14 (5g, 9a); Cole most recently gave out two assists against the Riptide
  • The Swarm are the third-best power-play killing defense in the league, stopping 24-of-35 (68.6 percent) man-up opportunities

Where To Watch

  • Peachtree TV – The Swarm vs. Thunderbirds game will be broadcasted live at 6:00 P.M. ET in the Atlanta Metro Area
  • ESPN+ – Use your ESPN+ account (or create a new one) to watch the game live Saturday, February 19, 2022, and all season long
  • Watch in person at six Gwinnett County Taco Mac locations: Buford, Cumming, Duluth, Johns Creek, Lawrenceville & Suwanee
Georgia Swarm Pro Lacrosse Team