DULUTH, Ga. – Reilly O’Connor and Callum Crawford each had hat tricks but it was not enough as the New England Black Wolves fell to the Georgia Swarm, 10-8, on Friday evening.
O’Connor also had three assists for six points while Crawford added two helpers in the loss. Stephan Leblanc had four assists while Alex Buque had a season-best 42 saves in net for the Black Wolves (3-3).
The Black Wolves got on the board first when O’Connor took a pass from Crawford and found the back of the net 6:50 into the game. New England opened up a 2-0 lead just 1:31 later on a goal from Crawford. However, the Swarm (6-2) scored three times in the final three minutes of the frame, including an empty net goal from Chad Tutton with 0.1 seconds remaining to give Georgia a 3-2 lead after one quarter.
The Swarm got the scoring started in the second with Lyle Thompson finding the back of the net with 8:45 remaining to put Georgia up 4-2. Crawford picked up his second of the night with 7:06 left to cut the Georgia advantage back down to one, 4-3, which is where the score stood at the end of the half.
Dereck Downs scored off of the opening faceoff to knot the score at 4-4 just 14 seconds into the third. Crawford picked up his third of the night just 49 seconds later to give New England the 5-4 lead. However, Lyle Thompson scored his second of the night with 10:06 left to tie the game at 5-5. The Swarm found the back of the net with 4:14 left to take a 6-5 lead, which is where the score would stand at the end of three.
The Black Wolves scored right away to open the fourth, this time when Tyler Digby netted a goal just 22 seconds in to tie it up at 6-6, but Georgia scored 47 seconds with an extra attacker on the turf later to retake the lead at 7-6. The Swarm increased their lead to two, 8-6, with 11:14 left to play. Georgia would score again with 9:27 remaining, but O’Connor scored two consecutive goals, one with 7:37 left and the other with 5:22 left to cut the Swarm lead to one at 9-8. Lyle Thompson’s third of the night with 4:30 to play secured the victory for Georgia.
Lyle Thompson had seven points on three goals and four assists to lead the Swarm while Randy Staats had two goals and two assists. Mike Poulin had 35 saves in the victory for Georgia.
The Black Wolves will return home to face the Rochester Knighthawks on Saturday, February 9. Faceoff at Mohegan Sun Arena is set for 7 p.m.