Uncasville, CT – The New England Black Wolves became the first team in the East Division to defeat the Georgia Swarm on Sunday, digging out of an early hole on the way to an 13-8 victory before 5,324 at Mohegan Sun Arena.
It was the second key East Division win in a row for the Black Wolves (5-6), who pulled out an overtime victory at second-place Toronto last Friday. Georgia is now 7-3.
Shawn Evans and Kyle Buchanan each had three goals and four assists while Kevin Crowley had three goals and three assists. It was the fourth hat trick of the year for Evans, the second for Buchanan and the sixth for Crowley.
Jay Thorimbert (two goals) had his first multiple-goal game for the Black Wolves, and also won 16 of 25 face-offs. Reilly O’Connor (two goals) had his third two-goal game in four outings for New England.
Trailing 3-1 early in the second quarter, the Black Wolves exploded for four goals in a span of 4:52 as O’Connor and Buchanan each scored twice. New England led 5-3, and Georgia would not get closer than one goal the rest of the night.
Georgia began the night leading the NLL in scoring average (14.44 goals per game), but goalie Evan Kirk and a scrappy New England defense held the Swarm to their lowest goal total of the season. Shayne Jackson (three goals, three assists) and Johnny Powless (two goals, two assists) were the only Georgia players to score multiple goals.
Kirk turned away 44 of 52 shots he faced, and came up with a number of clutch saves, particularly against a potent Swarm power play. Georgia had converted a league-best 61.2 percent (30 of 49) of its power play opportunities entering the game, but New England killed off nine of 10 short-handed situations it faced.
Georgia had beaten the Black Wolves twice at home, and were still within 8-6 early in the third quarter when New England goals from Evans, Thorimbert and Buchanan in a span of 2:47 midway through the third quarter pushed the lead to 11-6. Crowley made it 12-6 in the second minute of the fourth quarter, and the Black Wolves were in command the rest of the way.
New England hosts the Rochester Knighthawks this Friday on St Patrick’s Day at 7:30 p.m.