Uncasville – The New England Black Wolves avenged their worst loss of the season while also securing a home playoff game with a 21-11 win over the Georgia Swarm on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena.
It was the most goals scored by the Black Wolves (10-6) since relocating from Philadelphia, and the most goals scored by the franchise since February 1, 2002. It also tied the franchise record for most wins in a season, matching win totals in 2001 and 2008.
As a result of the win, New England clinched at least the second seed in the NLL playoffs. It can still catch the Buffalo Bandits (12-5) for top seed in the East Division, but would need to win its last two games, at Buffalo next Saturday and at home against Rochester next Sunday at 6 p.m.
With Shawn Evans (five goals, six assists), Pat Saunders (four goals, two assists) and Kevin Buchanan (four goals, two assists) leading the way, New England rallied from early deficits of 2-0 and 3-1 to rout the Swarm (7-10) one week after Georgia handed the visiting Black Wolves a 16-9 defeat at Infinite Energy Arena.
Evans set a new single-season career high for goals with 49. That is two more than he had last year, when he set the NLL scoring record with 130 points on the way to his second MVP award as a member of the Calgary Roughnecks. He now has 117 points, the second highest total of his career.
Saunders established new single-season career highs for goals (41), assists (31), points (72) and loose balls (65) during the win over the Swarm, while Kyle Buchanan (two goals, four assists) set a new single-season mark for goals. He now has 27.
New England also received offensive punch from defensemen. Sheldon Burns set a new career-high for points with two goals and two assists while John Ranagan scored his third goal of the season and first goal since February 28th against Georgia.
Jordan Hall chipped in with two goals and three assists while Kevin Crowley had a goal and five more assists. In goal, Evan Kirk had 45 saves for the Black Wolves.
Rookie Jesse King led the Swarm with four goals and two assists. Former New England defender Joel White had a game-high 13 loose balls.
The Black Wolves will be in action next on Saturday, April 30th when they travel to Buffalo to take on the Bandits. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.