ROCHESTER, N.Y. (January 21, 2022) – The Georgia Swarm (2-3) snapped a two-game losing streak and closed out its four-game away stretch with a decisive 12-8 win over the Rochester Knighthawks (2-2) at Blue Cross Arena.
Without reigning NLL MVP Shayne Jackson and emerging star Tanner Buck (Covid-19 protocol list), ten different Swarm players scored goals, including two each from Ethan Walker and Brendan Bomberry.
Lyle Thompson became the first NLL player to reach 30 points on the season when he found the net with 4:30 in the second quarter to give the Swarm a 6-2 lead, which they carried into halftime. Thompson, who was the the Knighthawks’ focus of attention all night, added five assists to finish with six points, giving him 32 on the year – currently tops in the league.
The Swarm, who never trailed in the game, won the first two face offs and scored two goals in the first 31 seconds of the opening quarter, a rocket from the top of the crease from Walker and a nifty breakaway from Ryan MacSpadyen. Walker, who entered the evening with six assists, notched his first two career NLL goals and almost pulled off a hat trick before an apparent goal was waived off in the fourth quarter when his foot barely touched the crease line.
The Swarm entered today’s game with six of its core players on the COVID-19 protocol list, including the aforementioned Jackson and Buck. On Wednesday, the Swarm signed Syracuse alum Brad “Bubba” Voigt, who played in his first NLL game today and scored his first NLL goal 12 minutes into the third quarter to halt a ten minute scoreless streak for Georgia. Travis Longboat also saw his first playing time of the year and scored his first goal in a Swarm uniform when he rifled a shot past Rochester goalie Ryland Hartley just seconds after Voigt’s milestone score.
The Swarm shook off their 2021-22 first quarter woes (7 goals scored, 14 allowed in the first four games) by jumping out to a 5-1 lead.
Bomberry, who along with Walker were the only two Swarm players to score more than one goal with two a piece, registered the team’s first power-play goal since Dec. 12 against the New York Riptide. Bryan Cole also pitched in a goal in the first frame, while Jordan MacIntosh scored the team’s second man-up goal of the evening.
Georgia and Rochester’s defense and goaltenders shined in the second as both teams added only one goal in the second 15 minutes of play. Thompson netted the lone Swarm goal of the second, while Curtis Knight got on the board for the Knighthawks. The Swarm carried a commanding 6-2 advantage into the locker room after out-shooting the Knighthawks 34-20 and converting on two of five power play opportunities.
After nearly 10 minutes of scoreless play in the third quarter, Walker ended the silence with another power shot from up top. Walker’s blast gave the Swarm a 7-2 advantage until Rochester scored on the next possession. Rochester scored one more goal before Georgia closed the third frame with two-straight goals to enter the final quarter with a 9-5 advantage.
Bomberry’s second goal of the night put Georgia up 10-5, but Rochester rallied with three unanswered goals in the fourth to pull to within two, 10-8, with 5:07 left in the game. But T.J. Comizio shut the door on the Knighthawks just over a minute later with a breakaway score, his first on the season. Kason Tarbell closed out the evening’s scoring with an empty-netter with 42 seconds remaining after Rochester pulled Hartley in a desperation move in the final minute of play.
MacIntosh handled the lion’s share of face off duties on the night, winning 9 of 15 face offs, while Comizio emerged with 5 of 9, providing a 14 of 24 face off advantage for the victors. Goalie Mike Poulin continued to impress between the pipes, fending off 41 of 49 Knighthawk shots.
The win pulls the Swarm to within a game of third place in the eight-team East Conference standings, setting up a critical divisional battle next week against the 3-2 Philadelphia Wings.
Full Stats and Score Sheet: NLL.com
The Swarm end their four-game road stretch 2-2 and return to Harrah’s Cherokee Resort and Casino Field next Saturday, January 29 when they invite the Philadelphia Wings to town. The Swarm and Wings faced off earlier this month in Philadelphia with the Wings edging the Swarm, 12-11, in overtime.