Tyler Digby and Reilly O’Connor each had five points with a hat trick and two assists apiece and Callum Crawford recorded six points on two goals and four assists but it wasn’t enough as the New England Black Wolves fell to the Georgia Swarm 16-12 to open the 2018-19 season on Saturday night.
Georgia opened up the scoring with two goals in the first six minutes of play, but Digby picked up his first goal as a member of the Black Wolves with 9:33 left in the quarter and followed it up with his second just over a minute later to tie the score on a 5-on-3 advantage. Seth Oakes picked up his first goal of the night with 1:20 remaining in the frame to give New England a one goal advantage, 3-2, to close out the first.
The Swarm scored four consecutive goals, including two by Miles Thompson, in the second quarter to take a 6-3 lead into halftime. Georgia opened the scoring again in the third quarter, but Colton Watkinson picked up his first goal of the season with 11:21 left in the frame and Crawford found the back of the net just 10 seconds later to cut the Georgia lead to two, 7-5.
However, Georgia rattled off four goals over the next 10 minutes to take an 11-5 advantage with 2:33 left. Oakes picked up his second of the night with four seconds remaining in the frame to make it 11-6 after three quarters.
New England came out firing in the fourth, with Adam Bomberry finding the back of the net just 1:17 into the frame and O’Connor picked up his first of the night just 11 seconds later. Crawford continued New England’s scoring streak, picking up his second 50 seconds later to cut the Georgia lead down to two, 11-9. Shayne Jackson scored his third of the night to put Georgia up 12-9 with 8:31 left, but O’Connor picked up his second just under a minute later to cut it back down to a two-goal differential.
Lyle Thompson scored two goals in a span of 17 seconds to put Georgia back up by four goals with 5:10 left to play and despite Digby and O’Connor closing out their hat tricks in the following two minutes, it was not enough as the Swarm scored twice to close out the quarter and solidify the victory.
In addition to his two goals, Oakes also had three assists in the loss for New England. Stephan LeBlanc and Kevin Buchanan each also had three helpers for the Black Wolves. In goal, Doug Jamieson had 44 saves on 59 shots.
For Georgia, Lyle Thompson, Holden Cattoni and Randy Staats each had seven points on two goals and five assists each. Mike Poulin had 38 saves to get the victory in net for the Swarm.
The Black Wolves will be back in action on December 28 when they open the season at home. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena.