NLL: Big home victory for Swarm

Lyle Thompson makes a diving attempt on Angus Goodleaf. (Photo credit: Kyle Hess)

The Georgia Swarm used a huge third quarter performance on Saturday to help lift themselves to a 15-11 victory at home over the Rochester Knighthawks.

It was really tight in the first half, and it all started pretty early on. Georgia got on the board first with a Randy Staats goal just over a minute into the game. Rochester answered with a quick two-goal run as Luc Mangan and Austin Shanks both found the back of the net. Lyle Thompson and Brendan Bomberry then both scored to Georgia up 3-2 midway through the first.

It took a lot of hard work but the whole team improved over the course of the game, said Bryan Cole, who had three goals and three assists for the Swarm.

“I think our shooting percentage got a little better, and I think we were taking better shots and working for better shots, and then obviously on the back end we were covering up transitions, stuff like that,” Cole said in a Swarm press release.

Rochester was able to put together a four-goal run in a span of 2:39 between the late first and early second that gave them a 6-4 lead. Bryan Cole was able to finally stop the bleeding as he scored for Georgia to cut it to a one goal 6-5 Rochester lead. After a Pat Saunders goal for Rochester, Georgia finished the half with a two-goal run.

With it all tied up at seven coming out of the half, Rochester was able to go up 8-7 early on in the third. That Saunders’ goal gave Rochester their last lead of the game. The Swarm dominated from then on in almost every facet of the game. A seven-goal run in the third that included three power play goals gave Georgia a dominant 14-8 lead.

The game got chippy late in the third with shenanigans continuing into the fourth. Rookie Brendan Bomberry took on Cody Jamieson in a fight. Fifty seconds later Billy Dee Smith took out some frustration on Shayne Jackson, knocking him down and landing a slash to his back. Jackson got back up only to receive three punches from Smith that knocked him down again. Smith received a minor for slashing and a roughing major. Later, Angus Goodleaf took five minutes for getting the elbow up on Jordan MacIntosh as they raced for Rochester’s empty net.

Rochester outscored Georgia 3-1 in the fourth but it wasn’t enough for the Knighthawks as Georgia walked away 15-11 victors.

“That’s the type of night we need from our offense where everyone is contributing, whether it’s scoring, setting picks,” said Swarm head coach Ed Comeau.

The Knighthawks were led by Saunders’ five points (4G/1A). Jamieson tallied three points (2G,1A) and Austin Shanks had six (1G/5A). Graeme Hossack led the Knighthawks’ defense as he scooped up 11 ground balls and had one caused turnover. Jake Withers went 24-28 on face-offs after returning from a short stint on the IR.

Georgia was led by Cole’s six points (3G/3A), while Randy Staats had four (3G/1A). Lyle Thompson tallied seven points (1G/6A). Chad Tutton led the Swarm’s defense with two caused turnovers and seven ground balls. Adam Wiedemann also had two caused turnovers while scooping up four ground balls.

Mike Poulin had 27 saves on 38 shots on net for Georgia. Rochester started Angus Goodleaf and also put Warren Hill in near the end. Goodleaf had 18 saves on 30 shots while Hill made seven saves on eight shots.

Next week Georgia will travel to Buffalo as they try to avenge their blowout home loss from a few weeks ago. Rochester has a bye week and will next be in action on March 15th at home against Georgia.