Swarm unable to contain Wings, finish doubleheader with loss
Early lead dissipated in Wings' comeback
March 9, 2020By: Ty Merrow
The Georgia Swarm (7-5) jumped to a 5-0 lead to start Sunday’s afternoon contest against the Philadelphia Wings (8-6), but they were outscored 12-6 the rest of the way, dropping the back end of their doubleheader weekend with a 12-11 loss at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena.
It was the opposite of their previous night’s game, where the Swarm started slow but finished strong with the win. Despite the loss, the Swarm are just ahead of the Wings in win percentage and sit in second in the East Division.
“It was a typical lacrosse game where teams went on runs,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “We went on a run early and maybe thought things were happening a little too easy for us. They tightened up a little bit, and they went on their run … For both teams, it was a tough travel weekend, and both teams left it out on the floor. Extremely disappointed in the outcome. We need to regroup and get ready in two weeks to go to Saskatoon.”
The Swarm erupted for a five-goal lead in the first quarter, kicked off by Randy Staats’ first of four goals. Reeling but not knocked out, the Wings retaliated in the second quarter, outscoring the Swarm 6-2. A five-goal Wings’ run started by captain Kiel Matisz put the visiting team down 7-6 at halftime.
A better effort in the third quarter gave the Swarm a bit of a cushion. Staats netted back-to-back goals, before Blaze Riorden did the same for the Wings, his third and fourth goals of the game. Lyle Thompson’s power play marker widened the Swarm’s lead to 10-8 heading into the fourth quarter.
Photo Credit: Kyle Hess
Untimely penalties at the end of the third quarter bled into the fourth, and Brett Hickey capitalized to put the visiting team within one goal. Shayne Jackson’s hat trick goal – his ninth game this season with a hat trick – would be the last Swarm goal of the game.
Matisz netted a penalty shot, Riorden’s fifth of the night tied the game up, and Hickey’s second goal with 1:35 min. left sealed the deal. The Wings left Sting City with a 12-11 road win, avoiding the season series sweep by the Swarm and splitting the doubleheader weekend for both clubs.
Staats’ seven points (4G, 3A) led the Swarm, followed by Jackson’s six points (3G, 3A) and Lyle’s five (1G, 4A). Goalie Mike Poulin earned the loss, finishing with a .745 SV%.
Riorden’s five goals were accompanied by three assists. While he did not find the back of the net, Kevin Crowley was behind Riorden in points with seven assists. Zach Higgins earned the win, posting a .796 SV%.
The Swarm go on a bye week before heading up to SaskTel Centre to take on the Saskatchewan Rush on Friday, March 20. It will be the lone regular season meeting between the two teams and the Swarm’s first trip to SaskTel Centre since the 2017-18 NLL season.
“Coming off a back-to-back where some guys are banged up and nicked up, we’ll be really focused on getting healthy and working on getting workouts in, recovery, and we’ll start working on the Rush (in the second week),” Comeau concluded. “It’s no easy task to go into SaskTel Centre to play, but we’re in a dog fight in our division, and we need to make sure we keep pace.”
The Swarm then return home on Friday, March 27 to welcome the division rival New England Black Wolves (8-3) at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena. Face-off is set for 7:30 p.m. ET. Celebrating Fan Appreciation Night presented by Mitsubishi Electric, fans can get their tickets at GeorgiaSwarm.com/FanNight or by calling 844-4-GASWARM.
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