Georgia Holds Off New England on Star Wars Night 12/15/2018

Photo Credit: Georgia Swarm

Justin Ivey, Beat Writer New England Black Wolves
Lacrosse is Awesome

The second game of the 2018-2019 NLL opening day pitted the visiting New England Black Wolves (0-1) against the host Georgia Swarm (1-0) in front of 4,943 fans at the Infinite Energy Arena.  Both teams donned some outstanding uniforms – the Swarm in Star Wars themed black and the Black Wolves in orange and white for the first time.  By halftime, Georgia had a lead they would not relinquish as they held back a New England fourth quarter rally.  Final Score: New England-12, Georgia-16.

The first five minutes of the game had both teams feeling each other out.  Offenses seemed tentative as the defenses kept the ball on the perimeter.  Georgia finally broke the seal 5:15 in when Randy Staats (2G, 6A) found a cutting Shayne Jackson (3G, 1A).  Jackson got goaltender Doug Jamieson to drop to his knees and he buried the ball top left over his shoulder.  New England won the ensuing faceoff but couldn’t answer.  Taking advantage of the transition opportunity, Bryan Cole (1A) fed Chad Tutton (1G) on the side of the crease for a diving goal against an unsettled defense.  New England finally found the net 9:33 into the game and tied the game at two just over a minute later.  Both goals were scored by Tyler Digby (3G, 2A), a big offseason acquisition.  Both goals also came on the power play after Georgia was called for Illegal Substitution.  With the momentum, New England took the lead with 1:20 remaining on a goal from Seth Oakes (2G, 3A).  At the end of the first quarter, the Black Wolves led the Swarm 3-2.

The second quarter was all Georgia.  Jackson scored his second of the game 3:03 into the quarter on a power play opportunity after a New England Illegal Substitution.  Just under seven minutes later, Randy Staats (2G, 6A) broke the 3-3 tie with his first of the game.  Staats scored on a dodge from the side during a four on four opportunity.  Before Georgia took the lead, New England squandered two power play opportunities.  After the Georgia penalty expired, Miles Thompson (2G, 2A) scored on the power play to give the Swarm a two-goal lead.  With just two seconds remaining in the half, Miles Thompson scored again.  This time it was a quick stick finish on an assist from Holden Cattoni (2G, 5A).  At the half, Georgia led New England 6-3.

The first goal of the second half was a beautiful lacrosse play from Cattoni.  Miles Thompson’s attempt was blocked by Jamieson, and Cattoni scooped up the juicy rebound in stride and buried it with a behind the back shot.  2:57 into the third, and Georgia had now strung together five unanswered goals.  Colton Watkinson (1G) finally ended the streak with an unsettled and unassisted goal just under a minute later.  Off the following faceoff, Stephen Leblanc (3A) found a cutting Callum Crawford (2G, 4A) to get the Black Wolves back to within two.  The momentum was short lived.  Zed Williams’ (1G) top corner snipe about four minutes later started another run for the Swarm.  Jordan MacIntosh (1G, 1A) scored shorthanded after a wonderful outlet pass from goalie Mike Poulin.  An unassisted goal from Joel Tinney (1G, 1A)) extended the lead to five and Staats found the back of the net with 2:33 remaining completing a four-goal run.  Oakes got one back for New England with four seconds left on the clock.  At the end of three quarters, Georgia led New England 11-6.

New England found some momentum to start the fourth quarter with three goals in the first 2:18. Adam Bomberry (1G) struck first on a second effort play after a rebound.  The goal from the crease was assisted by JP Kealey (2A).  Just nine seconds later, Reilly O’Connor (3G, 2A) was found cutting all alone by Oakes for the easy goal.  Crawford scored the fourth unanswered goal for New England shorthanded and in transition 2:18 in bringing the score to 11-9.  Both teams battled hard for the next five minutes with neither able to score until Jackson scored his hat trick goal halfway through the quarter.  Under a minute later, O’Connor scored his second to keep New England in the game.  Georgia’s answer was named Lyle Thompson (2G, 5A).  Lyle scored with 5:27 left on an assist from Staats as he drove the middle, and then on the ensuing possession and only 27 seconds later, Staats again found Lyle cutting for a quick stick finish.  Suddenly, the Black Wolves found themselves down four with 5:10 left in the game.  Digby cut the lead to three 31 seconds later as he gathered a rebound off an Oakes shot and beat Poulin high.  Just over a minute later, O’Connor scored from the middle off a Leblanc feed and with 3:36 remaining, New England was only down two.  The Georgia defense came up big for the remaining game, not allowing any good shots.  Cattoni scored his second of the game with 1:54 remaining and John Ranagan (1G) iced the game with an empty net goal seven seconds later.  Despite the New England effort, Georgia held on for the win.  Final Score: New England-12, Georgia-16.

Up Next:

The New England Black Wolves (0-1) host the Saskatchewan Rush (0-0) on Friday, December 28 at 7:30 PM EST.

The Georgia Swarm (1-0) travel to play the Toronto Rock (0-0) on Friday, December 28 at 7:30 PM EST.

Justin Ivey, Beat Writer New England Black Wolves
Lacrosse is Awesome

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