NLL: Strong home opener from Swarm sees 12-6 victory

Georgia’s Mike Poulin makes a save against Philadelphia’s Kiel Matisz while Adam Wiedemann defends. (Photo credit: Kyle Hess)

Georgia Swarm head coach Ed Comeau secured his 100th career regular season win as the Swarm burned the Philadelphia Wings in a 12-6 victory during their home opener. Comeau joins Derek Keenan, Darrius Kilgour and Troy Cordingley as the only four coaches to have achieved that number of wins in the regular season.

Georgia thrived behind a seven-point (4G/3A) performance from Lyle Thompson. Additionally, Shayne Jackson tallied five points (3G/2A) while Jordan Hall and Randy Staats each put up five points (1G/4A) in the win.

Kevin Crowley led the way for Philadelphia with four points (2G/2A) while Kiel Matisz also had four points (1G/3A). Matt Rambo, Brett Hickey and Cory Vitarelli each scored once.

Mike Poulin made 42 saves on 48 shots on goal for Georgia, including his 2000th career save.

“We’re just not giving up easy shots, you know what I mean?” Thompson said. “We’re giving up the shots that Poulie wants to see. He’s the best goalie in the league. When you’re giving up shots that are easy for him to save, it definitely gives us a little more confidence and a little more comfort on our end of the floor.”

Zach Higgins made 35 saves on 47 shots on goal for Philadelphia. Veteran Brandon Miller also saw some action late in the game for the Wings.

The first quarter saw a lot of defensive play, especially early on, as neither team seemed to be able to break the ice. Finally, Bryan Cole broke the silence midway through the first quarter to give Georgia an early 1-0 lead. Cory Vitarelli answered for Philadelphia late in the first, but Randy Staats answered just a minute later to give Georgia a 2-1 lead heading into the second.

Staats’ goal was the first of a four-goal run for the Swarm that helped put them ahead 5-1 midway through the second. That run included two consecutive goals from Lyle Thompson. While Philadelphia was able to find some life again and answer with two goals of their own, Georgia was able to hold on to a 6-3 lead heading into the half.

Georgia came out of halftime with their foot on the gas as Shayne Jackson scored two straight in one minute to push Georgia’s lead out to 8-3. After some back-and-forth defensive play similar to the first quarter, Kevin Crowley got Philadelphia on the board late in the third.

Lyle and Miles Thompson combined for three consecutive goals from late in the third through early in the fourth to effectively put this one away. While Brett Hickey and Kiel Matisz were able to answer late in the quarter, the game was already too far gone for any kind of huge comeback. Adam Wiedemann scored the final goal for Georgia with just under two minutes left on the clock to secure the 12-6 victory for the Swarm.

With the win, Georgia moves to 2-0 on the season while Philadelphia drops to 0-1.