The Georgia Swarm traveled out west this weekend to take on the Colorado Mammoth in a very close contest. The Mammoth pulled out the 10-8 win after some stellar second half play, especially in the fourth quarter.
In the first half each team showed much prowess on the defensive end, and it was apparent from the opening whistle. The offense got going with a Shayne Jackson goal midway through the first to give Georgia a 1-0 lead. At the end of the first Georgia held just a 2-0 lead with Lyle Thompson finding the back of the net late in the quarter.
It was a back-and-forth second quarter as Colorado and Georgia traded goals the entire way. Jordan Gilles started Colorado’s offense early in the quarter. Georgia answered just a few minutes later with Randy Staats finding the back of the net.
While the offense went back-and-forth, so did each defense. The goalie play to end the half was spectacular with Dillon Ward keeping Colorado in the game and Mike Poulin doing the same for Georgia.
“Poulie played very well, and I thought defensively we played well for a lot of the night,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said in a team press release. “Late in the game, we had some miscues, but gain, I thought Poulie played really well.”
Ryan Benesch crashed into Poulin late in the second quarter and had to be taken off the floor on a stretcher but the Mammoth reported later that Benesch was able walk into the locker room at halftime and watched the rest of the game on the bench with his teammates.
Colorado had ended the half trailing 4-3, but that didn’t last long as Ryan Lee found the back of the net right out of the gate to tie it up at four. Georgia answered just a few possessions later with a Shayne Jackson goal to tie it back up again. Each team scored once more to round out the third with the game tied at six.
At the end of the third Eli McLaughlin scored a game tying goal to give Colorado a huge momentum boost heading into the fourth. Colorado road that wave into the fourth as they extend that one goal into a three-goal run to go ahead 8-6. It seemed as if Georgia had no answer on either side of the floor for the roaring Mammoth.
Zed Williams put one past Ward to give Georgia at least a little momentum midway through the fourth, and cut their lead to one at 8-7. After a few minutes of defensive stands and transition saves Colorado would get going again. Eli McLaughlin scored his fourth of the night and a few minutes later Joey Cupido put in the dagger with an empty netter.
Randy Staats made a diving goal to give Georgia some life in the last minute of the game but that was all the Swarm had in them. Colorado was able to hold on in the last minute and secure the 10-8 win.
Georgia was led by Williams’ two goals and Lyle Thompson’s four points (1G/3A). On the defensive end of the floor Jason Noble recorded three caused turnovers and scooped up two loose balls. Chad Tutton also played a key role as well.
The Mammoth were led on offense by Eli McLaughlin and his six points (4G/2A). Joey Cupido had three points (1G/2A) in the win. On defense Robert Hope caused four turnovers and scooped up eight loose balls.
Poulin recorded 44 saves on 53 shots on goal while Ward made 33 saves on 41 shots on net.
Colorado will be in action next week as they take on Saskatchewan in a road game on Friday. Meanwhile, Georgia has a bye week so their next contest will be a home game against Rochester on Saturday, March 3rd.