NLL: Late push from Swarm sinks Roughnecks

The Georgia Swarm celebrate their win over the Calgary Roughnecks on Saturday, January 13 at the Scotiabank Saddledome. (Photo credit: Candice Ward/Calgary Roughnecks)

A big night from Shayne Jackson paved the way for the Georgia Swarm as they defeated the Calgary Roughnecks 15-12 in front of 11,843 fans Saturday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.  The win moves Georgia into a three-way tie for third in the Eastern Division. Calgary’s loss drops them into a tie with Vancouver for last place in the Western Division.

Jackson tallied four goals and six assists for a 10-point evening. His goal at 10:39 of the third quarter came at a critical time for Georgia. Calgary, at that point, had all the momentum after scoring shorthanded to take a 9-6 lead. Jackson managed to drive to the net and while falling, fired a low short-side bouncer that beat Frank Scigliano with one second left on the shot-clock. That goal started a six-goal run for the Swarm that saw them take the lead and never relinquish it.

“I’ve said it before, everyone on this offense can have a big night,” Jackson said. “Tonight, myself and Randy (Staats) had a big night and that comes from us moving the ball as an offense. We all set picks for each other and there [were] great picks tonight and luckily it went in for us. I’m sure if you ask Randy too, (he’ll say) it’s all about the win.”

For Jackson, his 10 points move him into 5th place in league scoring, tied with Dhane Smith and Ben McIntosh, each with 27 points.

The defending champs also received five-point efforts from four different players: Randy Staats (4G,1A), Johnny Powless (1G, 4A), Jordan MacIntosh (1G,4A) and Kiel Matisz (1G,4A). Although Lyle Thompson was held to just one assist, he managed to scoop nine loose balls, moving his season total to 45, good for second in the league.

For the Roughnecks, it was another disappointing loss. After struggling offensively for the bulk of the season, the Riggers came out and looked determined to change their fortunes. In the first half, the Roughnecks consistently created quality scoring chances and were rewarded for their efforts. The opening five goals were scored by five different players. By halftime the Roughnecks held the lead 8-6.

The one consistent part of the Roughnecks season has been their transition game, most notably rookie Zach Currier and third-year man Tyson Bell. Currier had an electric first half, highlighted by a scrambled face-off in which he managed to kick the ball past a cluster of defenders before scooping it up and getting a shot off on Mike Poulin. Bell was equally athletic and scored a short-handed goal on a nice backhand twister.

Despite a six-goal run by Georgia, the game remained close. After three quarters the score was 12-11 for the Swarm and the shots were even at 42. However, in a tight fourth quarter, it was Georgia that was able to find the back of the net three times to Calgary’s one to secure the win.  Wesley Berg finished the night with four goals and two assists while Dane Dobbie scored twice and added four assists.

Coach Malawsky summed up the evening: “We had some chances and we just didn’t get the result. I talked to the guys about making their own breaks and I thought we made a ton of breaks for ourselves. I think that was definitely our best offensive game and I thought there were times we were really good defensively. Just a period of time, a bad three or four minutes that probably cost us the game.”

Both teams will enjoy a bye week before playing again on January 27th.  Georgia will visit Vancouver while Calgary will host Saskatchewan.