NLL: Swarm stumble at home

Georgia’s Randy Staats looks to get around Buffalo’s Josh Byrne. (Photo credit: Kyle Hess)

The Georgia Swarm lost their second consecutive game at home on Saturday night, falling 16-10 against the Buffalo Bandits. Both teams came into the game after suffering home losses two weeks prior. It was Lacrosse Out Cancer night in Georgia with the team wearing special uniforms.

From early on, this game was a one-sided affair. Buffalo came out firing on all cylinders and took advantage of an uncharacteristically bad Georgia defense. Ultimately, that became the deciding factor in the game as Buffalo was able to keep piling on, even when the Swarm started to put it together late.

JP Kealey and Chase Fraser scored early on to put the Bandits up 2-0 within the first three minutes of the game. While Miles Thompson was able to put in a quick one in front of the net for the Swarm, that was the only goal the home crowd could cheer about for almost 10 minutes. Buffalo rattled off four consecutive goals to go ahead 6-1, but a goal late in the first from Miles Thompson trimmed Buffalo’s lead to 6-2 heading into the second.

“We gave them too much space, we weren’t closing gaps, we weren’t playing with energy, and there was an overall lack of trust. We were sliding to help, and guys didn’t need it … Offensively, we were stagnant,” said Swarm assistant coach Dan Ladouceur.

Buffalo continued to dominate in the second, starting the quarter on a three-goal run and finishing it with two consecutive goals to get ahead 11-3 at the half. Georgia’s offense continued to struggle in the second with their only goal of the quarter coming from Shayne Jackson late in the quarter.

While Ian MacKay pushed the Bandits’ run to three goals early in the third, Georgia finally found an answer. Randy Staats finally broke through for Georgia, scoring two straight midway through the third, and Jordan MacIntosh added a third goal for the Swarm to cut Buffalo’s lead to 12-6.

Each side traded goals late in the third to make it a 14-7 Buffalo lead heading into the fourth quarter. Georgia started the fourth on a three-goal run that included two straight from Jackson, and the Swarm’s defense started to wake up a bit.

“We haven’t played consistently for 60 minutes, and that was the challenge coming into this week. We didn’t meet it. So, we have to re-up that challenge and go into New York (next Saturday) and do it,” said Ladouceur.

Georgia was able to cut the Buffalo lead to 14-10 late in the fourth. But just when the Swarm thought they had some energy to force a comeback, Buffalo answered and ultimately put this one out of reach. Corey Small and Josh Byrne scored goals late to secure the Buffalo victory.

The Bandits were led by Chris Cloutier and Chase Fraser who each had six points (3G/3A) in the victory. Dhane Smith also had six points (1G/5A) for the Bandits.

Shayne Jackson and Randy Staats led Georgia with six points (3G/3) each. Lyle Thompson and Jordan Hall each had four assists for the Swarm.

Matt Vinc made 45 saves off of 54 shots on goal for Buffalo and Mike Poulin made 34 saves off of 49 shots on goal for Georgia.