The New England Black Wolves pulled out a 14-13 playoff victory over the Georgia Swarm in sudden death overtime tonight at Mohegan Sun Arena as Shawn Evans scored a power play goal 57 seconds into the extra session of the East Division Semifinal.
New England earned the power play when Kevin Crowley was hauled down in the crease by former Black Wolves’ defender Joel White.
Second-seeded New England will now face the top-seeded Buffalo Bandits in Game 1 of the East Division finals at 7 p.m. on May 16th at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Evans scored the last of his four goals on the night after recovering a loose ball near the crease. Crowley also had four goals and four assists while Kyle Buchanan (two goals, two assists) and Kevin Buchanan (two goals, one assist) also led the way.
Goalie Evan Kirk, who had a career-year with a league-high 620 saves and nine victories, made 53 saves including a number of point-blank stops to secure the first playoff win by the franchise since 2001. In that season, the Philadelphia Wings beat Toronto for the NLL Championship.
Evans, who missed the last game of the regular season after suffering an upper body injury in a loss at Buffalo, also had a pair of assists.
New England seemed to be in control of the game until Georgia flurried for four goals in the last 1:49 of the third quarter to take the lead. Rookies Lyle Thompson, Randy Staats and Jesse King had goals as did Miles Thompson as the Swarm turned an 11-8 deficit into a 12-11 lead going into the fourth quarter.
But Kevin Buchanan scored twice in a 33-second span in the first 1:44 of the fourth quarter to give the lead back to New England.
Georgia tied the game with 5:10 remaining when Lyle Thompson (four goals, two assists) scored to make it 13-13. The last five minutes of regulation were played at a furious pace with each team threatening but neither able to convert.
“We battled really hard in the second half of the season to get here and I’m really proud of the team,” Swarm team captain Jordan MacIntosh told GeorgiaSwarm.com. “Tonight, we played one of our best games of the season. We battled really hard with a good team that we had played a lot of times.”
“We fought back because we’re a good team,” Swarm interim head coach Blane Harrison, who subbed in for injured head coach Ed Comeau, added to the team’s website. “We respect them, but we don’t fear them. They’re two games ahead of us in the standings and we knew we would matchup really well against them. I wasn’t surprised that we had the firepower, this offense is the second best in the league for a reason. It was just a matter of time before we started to click a little bit.”
Three Stars of the Game:
1) Shawn Evans
2) Kevin Crowley
3) Evan Kirk
Story by BlackWolves.com. Photo by Khoi Ton.