Duluth, GA – In the first meeting between the teams since the first round of the National Lacrosse League playoffs last May 6th, the Georgia Swarm enjoyed some revenge Friday night at Infinite Energy Arena, rolling to 14-9 victory over the New England Black Wolves.
The Swarm (3-0) jumped out to a 4-0 lead after one quarter and New England – which ended Georgia’s 2016 season with a 14-13 overtime win at Mohegan Sun Arena last spring – could never cut the deficit under three goals the rest of the night.
Lyle Thompson (four goals, two assists), Jordan Hall (three goals, four assists) and Jerome Thompson (four assists) led the Georgia offense while goalie Mike Poulin turned away 51 of a season-high 60 New England shots on net. Pat Saunders, Chad Culp and Kevin Crowley each had two goals and two assists for the Black Wolves.
New England (0-3) finally plays its first home game of 2017 next Saturday at 7 p.m. against the Buffalo Bandits.
After a scoreless first nine minutes, rookie Bryan Cole sparked a four-goal Georgia run, beating New England goalie Evan Kirk on a pass from Jason Noble. Lyle Thompson and Randy Staats followed with goals to make it 3-0 before Mitch Belisle converted an empty-netter after New England pulled Kirk to set up a man advantage in the closing seconds of the quarter.
Belisle alertly grabbed a long rebound off Crowley’s shot and managed to score in the final second of the first quarter to give the Swarm a 4-0 lead. It was the third time this season the Black Wolves have been shut out in a quarter.
Reilly O’Connor finally got New England on the board 2:59 into the second quarter on an assist from Shawn Evans. Poulin repeatedly frustrated the Black Wolves, making 21 saves on 23 shots in the half. Crowley scored the other New England goal just before intermission, which arrived with the Black Wolves trailing 5-2.
Georgia carried a power play into the second half, and Kiel Matisz cashed in to give the Swarm a 6-2 lead.
After Culp scored for the Black Wolves, Georgia goals by Hall and Lyle Thompson just over a minute apart made it 8-3. Evans cut the deficit to 8-4, but Georgia responded again with goals by Lyle Thompson (shorthanded) and Miles Thompson to make it 10-5.
In the fourth quarter, goals by Lyle Thompson and Hall (two) pushed the Swarm lead to 13-5. A late New England flurry of goals from Saunders, Jay Thorimbert, Culp and Crowley in the closing minutes made it 13-9 before another Georgia empty-netter closed out the scoring.