NLL: Swarm steal one from Knighthawks in overtime

Mike Poulin of the Georgia Swarm recorded his 99th career win. (Photo credit: Kyle Hess)

The game was fast-paced from the very beginning and GAS South Arena was buzzing with excitement.  Both the Rochester Knighthawks and Georgia Swarm have struggled this season, and this was a “must win” game for both teams and it was clear that it was going to be a close one. Georgia ended up winning 17-16 in this overtime spectacular that had fans of both teams on the edge of their seats.The game ended with three stars, but clearly could have had more. Ryan Smith received third star for his four-goal effort for Rochester. Finishing ahead of him was Shayne Jackson with a five-goal effort for Georgia. Not to be outdone, Lyle Thompson was the first star with his four goals and three assists, many of which kept Georgia in the game. But arguably, Shayne Jackson could have received the first star with his thrilling overtime goal with 12:21 left on the clock that bounced into the goal.It looked like Georgia was in trouble during the first few minutes of the game. The defense appeared to be caught off guard and Rochester rattled them. Transition player Cory Highfield snuck one into the net just 15 seconds into the game. Ryan Smith followed less than three minutes later before Jordan Hall answered for Georgia. Rochester would outscore Georgia 3-2 in the first. Georgia struggled with their shot selection, only scoring twice on 11 shots.  Both teams appeared to have a stern talking to at the end of the first quarter which caused both offenses to click. Georgia outscored Rochester 7-5 in the second quarter. Shayne Jackson netted two for Georgia much to the delight of the fans. Not to be outdone, Lyle Thompson scored three, some of them seemingly impossible. It doesn’t seem to matter how many defenders Thompson has draped on him, he can find a way to slide it over the goal line. Rochester provided a more balanced attack this quarter with five guys each scoring one goal.The third quarter was dominated by the Knighthawks as they tamed the swarm. Again, scoring was balanced as four different guys scored five goals. It appeared that the Knighthawks were crushing to victory until the fourth quarter began and the 7000+ fans willed their team to victory. Shayne Jackson and Lyle Thompson went to work early in the fourth with Shayne Jackson scoring just 25 seconds into the quarter. He added one a few minutes later followed by Lyle Thompson. It appeared the tide had turned and that Georgia was now in control. Rochester stepped up and both teams then traded two goals each followed by one goal each before Jackson settled the game in overtime.Other items of note: There were 24 penalty minutes in this game including a goaltender interference call that landed Lyle Thompson in the box, even though the goal stood. Both teams were close in faceoffs, with Georgia winning the battle 19-16.  And although Mike Poulin only recorded 31 saves, it was enough for the win. It was also enough to move him up in the history books in two categories as he made his 6,000 save and earned his 99th win. This moved him ahead of Anthony Cosmo in National Lacrosse League victories.Georgia next takes on the Halifax Thunderbirds. The offense and defense will need to be ready to go all four quarters as Halifax only has one loss this season. Meanwhile, Rochester will face New York in a game that will probably have tempers flying as teams try to prove to be the better New York team.