Shawn Palmer, NLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©
The Georgia Swarm (4-0) visited the Philadelphia Wings (0-4) at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday January 12, 2019. The 12,688 fans who showed up were hoping to see Kevin Crowley return to the Wings lineup and help them to their first win of the season. Crowley was acquired from the New England Black Wolves earlier in the week in exchange for their first round selection in the 2019 Entry Draft and their first round selection in the 2022 Entry Draft after they were not able to agree on a contract. The Wings had lost Brett Hickey to a season ending injury in their game last week so adding last year’s leading goal scorer was a big move for the Wings. What looked like a blow out early on turned into a close 13-11 Georgia win.
In the opening quarter the Wings came out and scored the first two goals in just over 2 minutes. Josh Currier (3G, 1A) opened the scoring on a nice feed from Chris Cloutier (2A) as he cut through the middle of the floor from the bench and beat Mike Poulin who was in net for Georgia. One minute later Crowley made it on the scoresheet as he faked a shot which pulled two defenders and left Blaze Riorden (3G, 3A) wide open on the crease for his first goal of the night. The two goal lead lasted only 21 seconds as Randy Staats (3G, 4A) shot from the outside eluded Wings goalie Davide DiRuscio to cut the lead to one. The Swarm defense turned a transition two on one into the first goal of the season by Matt Dunn (1G) to tie the game six minutes into the first quarter. Shayne Jackson (1G, 3A) and Lyle Thompson (3G, 3A) increased the lead later in the quarter as they scored 33 seconds apart to make it 4-2 for the Swarm. The Wings could not generate any offense in the last 13 minutes of the quarter, including on their first power play where they had a couple of outside shots that Poulin was able to stop. The scoring in the first quarter ended with L. Thompson netting his second of the night with a low shot that beat DiRuscio. This came just after a Wings goal that was called back for being in the crease. The first quarter ends with the Swarm on a 5 goal run, Swarm 5 – Wings 2.
The Swarm continued their scoring ways as Zed Williams (2G, 3A) scored his first of the game with a nice crease dive goal. Paul Day, the coach of the Wings had seen enough and decided to pull DiRuscio and put in Doug Buchan who had a great game last week in the OT loss to the Toronto Rock.
The goaltending change did not provided dividends right away as Williams scored his second goal in a row less than two minutes after his first; followed by Holden Cattoni(2G, 4A) scoring on the power play goal 21 seconds later and the Swarm led 8-3 three minutes into the second quarter. The Wings scored their third goal of the game as Crowley received a pass from Jordan Hall (4A) to stop the 8-0 run for Georgia and cut the deficit to five. Philadelphia had another power play opportunity but managed to get only two shot attempts and zero shots on net. Matt Rambo (1G) thought he had scored a Wings goal but his crease dive was challenged and the goal was called back as his foot touched the crease before the ball crossed the line. It looked like the Wings found that they needed to get in close in order to beat Poulin on this night as they continued to move the ball low on their offensive chances. Two minutes after the disallowed goal Cloutier found a cutting Currier who caught and shot while diving across the front of the net to beat Poulin with a great highlight goal to cut the lead to four at 8-4 Swarm. Twenty Six seconds later the Wings score their third in a row as Crowley scored his second of the game on a pass from Riordan and beat Poulin up high. The scoring in the first half ended with Miles Thompson (1G, 1A) scoring on the power play at 11:53 as he received a no look pass from Cattoni after some great ball movement to start. End of the first half Swarm 9 – Wings 5.
The third quarter started with the Wings having to kill off a 5 on 3 Swarm power play off a late first half goalie interference and roughing penalty. Staats scored his second of the game at 1:47 of the third on the power play on a low bounce shot from the outside to beat Buchan. The Wings were able to kill off one of the penalties which gave them some momentum when Rambo got his first of the game on another crease dive but this time was able to stay away from the crease cutting the Swarm lead to 10-6. The teams went back and forth and Buchan made some good saves to keep the Wings in the game. Six minutes into the quarter Kiel Matisz (1G, 4A) scored as the Wings had some good ball movement allowing him to cut from the outside and beat Poulin with a crease dive. Thirty seconds later Currier completed his hat trick with another crease dive goal to cut the lead to two. The momentum seemed to continue for the Wings as Georgia’s Cattoni was assessed a five minute major penalty for high sticking half way through the frame. Unfortunately Philadelphia was unable to take advantage of the extended power play and the quarter ended with the Swarm leading 10-8.
The final quarter started off with a quick goal 24 seconds in as L. Thompson scored his third of the game, beating Buchan up high to restore the three goal lead for Georgia at 11-8. Less than a minute later Georgia’s Chad Tutton received a five minute major for an illegal body check, giving Philadelphia another great opportunity to take advantage of the situation and get back into the game. At first it didn’t look good as Jordan MacIntosh sprinted down the floor shorthanded on a breakaway but Buchan was up to the task and made the save. Just after the save the Wings had some great ball movement on the power play which allowed Riorden to get open in the middle and beat Poulin for his second of the game to cut the lead to two. Philadelphia kept the pressure on for the rest of the man advantage but Poulin was able to shut the door and keep the lead at 11-9. Just under six minutes into the quarter Steph Charbonneau scored for the Wings on a transition two on one as he kept the ball and beat Poulin with a shot to the far side of the net cutting the lead to just one with still over nine minutes left in the game. In the next two minutes the teams traded goals with Cattoni netting his second of the game on a delayed penalty to the Wings and Riorden notching his hat trick goal to get the Wings back to within one at 12-11 with seven minutes left. The Wings were able to kill of a penalty with Buchan making some key saves to keep it close but with 48 seconds left in the game Staats completed his hat trick on a pick and roll and a shot to the far side to beat Buchan. Final Score: Swarm 13—Wings 11
Shots on goal: Wings 60 Swarm 53
- Randy Staats – 3G, 4A
- Blaze Riorden – 3G, 3A
- Mike Poulin – 49 saves
The Georgia Swarm (4-0) have a double duty road trip next weekend as they head to Toronto to face the Rock (3-1) on Friday January 18, game time 7:30 p.m. EST; and on Saturday January 19, they head to down to New England to face the Black Wolves (2-1), game time 7:00 p.m. EST.
The Philadelphia Wings (0-4) head to Buffalo to face the Bandits on Saturday January 19, game time 7:30 p.m. EST.
Shawn Palmer, NLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©