NLL: Swarm sweep season series over Rock

Lyle Thompson scores against the Toronto Rock. (Photo credit: Ryan McCullough)

The Toronto Rock were looking for redemption at the Air Canada Centre as they tangled with the Georgia Swarm for the second time in two weeks. On February 17 the Swarm required overtime to polish off the Rock, but unfortunately for the home crowd, this Saturday’s affair was a lopsided 12-7 loss, meaning a season sweep for the Swarm.

The Rock seemed to be taking one step forward and two steps back throughout the game. After being held scoreless for 30 minutes, the Rock had some major work to do if they were come away with the win.

“Our effort wasn’t where it needed to be,” noted bench boss Matt Sawyer which stemmed from the lack of dominance at both ends of the floor, as the Rock gave up 26 goals to the Swarm over their two games.

The Swarm were tired, having lost 11-10 at home the night before to the Colorado Mammoth, but it didn’t show. The Rock, on the other hand, were well-rested, coming off a bye week.

““It was disappointing to put in that kind of effort coming out of the bye with the importance that this game held,” Sawyer said. “You’re not going to win any games with the kind of production we got out the front door.”

With generational talents like Lyle and Miles Thompson on the floor, the Rock could not afford to let the Swarm offence get rolling, but that’s exactly what they did in this game.

The Rock initially looked good after the opening face-off as they jumped out to an early 3-1 lead. Kieran McArdle scored a pair, including the team’s third goal where he beat Swarm goaltender Mike Poulin on a two-on-one with Brock Sorensen. The Swarm would claw back within one as Lyle Thompson found a goal of his own to make it 3-2 at the end of the first quarter.

The Rock jumped out to a 5-3 lead, the largest lead they would have on the night, but this was shortly celebrated as the Swarm would go on to score four unanswered goals and take a 7-5 lead at end of the half.

The third quarter found no rejuvenation for the Rock as they were held scoreless. Tacking on Georgia’s two goals in the frame, the Rock just couldn’t get anything going their way.

Brett Hickey and Reid Reinholdt scored in the fourth quarter to end the 30 minute goal drought for the Rock but Georgia kept the heat on, scoring three of their own to take the win.

Not all was dark for the Rock as goaltender Nick Rose had yet another solid outing stopping 43 saves on a tall order of 54 shots. Swarm goaltender Mike Poulin steered away 44 shots on 51 which earned him the night’s first star.

Shayne Jackson (3G/2A) and Lyle Thompson (3G/1A)  led the Swarm. Miles Thompson scored twice and added three assists, and Kiel Matisz had a big game with two goals and two assists.

The Rock look to avoid accumulating a third loss in a row as they face off against the New England Black Wolves at the ACC on Sunday, March 11th at 3 p.m. It is the Rock’s annual charity game and their commemorative 20th anniversary jerseys will be auctioned off after the game, with proceeds supporting the Smilezone Foundation. To register for a bidding number, visit