Albany Falls to Georgia in OT Thriller – 3/4/2023

Logos Property of NLL

Justin Ivey, Co-Editor and NLL Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©

The Georgia Swarm (2-7) visited the Albany Firewolves (2-8) for the team’s second meeting in as many weeks Saturday night.  Last week, the Swarm really gave it to the Firewolves, defeating them 20-4 at home.  Albany returned veteran defensemen Greg Downing and Brett Manney to the lineup.  Both did not play in the loss last week in Georgia and the defense really looked like a whole different unit this time out with them.  Doug Jamieson (52SV) who entered in relief last week, played the whole game this time and was wonderful between the pipes.  Unfortunately, even holding Georgia to under 10 goals wasn’t enough to get a win.  Albany held a two-goal lead in the fourth quarter, but the Swarm fought back and tied the game.  Neither squad could score for the last seven minutes of regulation, but Lyle Thompson (3G, 4A) needed just 18 seconds in overtime to bury the game winner from outside.  Final Score:  Georgia-9, Albany-8.

Andrew Kew (1G, 3A) started the game right where he left off last week when he put up seven against his former team.  1:57 in, the lefty fired in a shot from outside on the run that bounced pass Jamieson.  Jake Fox (1G) tied the game with 6:38 left in the first quarter, scoring a SportsCenter Top 10 goal.  He caught a pass from Jerome Thompson (5A) in the middle of the floor and unleashed a behind the head laser that went through the legs of Swarm netminder Brett Dobson ().  Lyle broke the tie with 2:57 remaining on a low to low shot, finding himself open streaking towards the net.  With just 12 seconds left, Leo Stouros (40SV) took the ball all the way in transition and scored from close to tie the game once again.  At the end of the first quarter, Georgia and Albany were tied 2-2.

Photo Credit: V. Strobel

The second quarter should be in a defensive textbook.  Albany forced shots from outside and Jamieson was seeing the ball quite possibly the best he has all season.  Georgia also stood tall on the defensive end, and both teams were only able to score one goal a piece before the half.  Kason Tarbell (1G) put the Swarm ahead 3-2 1:39 into the second.  Tarbell gave himself some space by faking a few passes in transition before eventually finding himself alone with Jamieson in net.  Thomas Vaesen (1G) tied the game almost four minutes later, releasing a high to low shot from outside that Dobson seemed to lose in the traffic.  At halftime, Georgia and Albany were tied 3-3.

Just before the half ended, Albany was called for a five-minute high-sticking penalty, and while the defense fought off many chances, eventually Seth Oakes (1G, 1A) was able to capitalize on the advantage.  With just 16 seconds left on the man up, Oakes caught a pass while stepping up from goal line extended and beat Jamieson over his right shoulder.  Connor Kelly (3G, 1A) flipped the script on the next Swarm power play and scored his first of the night shorthanded.  Late in the shot clock, he drove right in the top of the box and picked a corner from way outside.  Just 27 seconds later though, the Swarm scored on the advantage when Brendan Bomberry (1G, 3A) stepped into his shot from the top corner.  Just over halfway through the third quarter and the Swarm again had a one-goal advantage.  Kelly also took the opportunity to flex on the man advantage, tying the game with his second of the quarter on the next Albany power play.  He found himself with the ball in his stick on the crease after some great passing and dove across to bury the goal on the far post.  The game was almost tied again at the end of the third quarter, but Shayne Jackson (2G, 1A) scored in transition with just 3.1 seconds left on the clock to give the lead back to Georgia.  At the end of the third quarter, Georgia led Albany 6-5.

Photo Credit: V. Strobel

Albany came out on fire in the fourth quarter.  Kelly tied the game at six with his second shorthanded goal of the evening.  A Colton Watkinson shot in transition went wide, and Kelly was in the perfect position to scoop and score the rebound off the boards.  Just under a minute later, trying to last out the same penalty, Tanner Thomson (1G) scored from distance, giving the Firewolves their first lead of the night.  22 seconds later, Kieran McArdle (1G, 3A) scored another shorthanded goal on the penalty ride out.  He caught a long high rebound off a wide shot in traffic.  Spinning to the middle of the field, he found an opening in the unsettled defense and drove the crease.  His high to high shot found the top corner and suddenly Albany had a two-goal lead.  Georgia wasn’t folding though.  On a third shot clock reset amid a strong Swarm effort, Lyle danced around a screen and fired a laser to get the away team back within one.  Jackson kept the rally going and tied the game with 7:11 left on the clock.  With under five seconds remaining in the shot clock, Lyle snapped a pass across the field where Jackson crouched and fired a bullet into the net.  For the remaining regulation time, neither team could break through and the fourth quarter ended with Georgia and Albany tied 8-8.

We were all set and ready for a long overtime, as the defenses proved throughout the night they had the upper hand, but Lyle must have had dinner reservations.  The Swarm won the faceoff and the offense settled into their look.  Lyle cut to the middle around a slip screen and from the same spot he had found success all night, he scored on a low to high shot 18 seconds in.  Final Score:  Georgia-9, Albany-8.