New England and Georgia came into Sunday’s matchup riding two different waves. The Black Wolves (4-1) were off to the best start in franchise history, winning their first four games, and the Swarm (3-3) had dropped their previous three.
The game played out much like we have come to expect of these two in recent years. These two offensive juggernauts traded goals in a great seesaw battle that ended up with the two going to overtime for the second straight week. Andrew Kew scored early in the final quarter to give New England the largest lead of the game at 10-7 but Georgia would answer with three goals in the next five minutes to give the 4,737 at Mohegan Sun Arena some free lacrosse.
Overtime saw tremendous action at both ends of the floor before a heavy shot from Zed Williams ricocheted out to Miles Thompson who fired a laser past Doug Jamieson 3:53 into extra time. The 11-10 win snapped the Swarm’s three game skid and the Black Wolves four game winning streak.
Georgia took a 5-4 lead into the second half only to see Reilly O’Connor knot the game at five just 19 seconds into the half. Former National Lacrosse League MVP Lyle Thompson would put the Swarm back on top before Callum Crawford and Jordan Durston put the Black Wolves on top at 7-6. The goal for Durston was his first in a Black Wolves uniform at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Stephan Leblanc and Colton Watkinson finished the third quarter with back-to-back tallies to give the Black Wolves a 9-7 lead before Kew’s early fourth quarter goal. Less than 10 seconds after Kew’s second of the game Randy Staats snuck behind the Black Wolves defense to start the comeback for the Swarm. Miles Thompson followed Staats’ second of the game with a second of his own and then Shayne Jackson tied the score with his 18th goal of the season to complete his hat trick. Jackson, the league’s leading goal scorer, has now put up hat tricks in each of the Swarm’s six games so far this season.
Jackson finished the contest with three goals and four assists while Miles Thompson picked up two goals and three assists. Staats (2G, A), Jordan Hall (G, 3A), and Lyle Thompson (2G) also had key production for the Swarm in the win. Jordan MacIntosh and Zedd Williams also picked up three helpers each for Georgia.
Coming up clutch down the stretch was the Swarm goaltender Mike Poulin who stopped 37 of 47 shots from the league’s highest scoring offense. Black Wolves goalie Doug Jamieson stopped 44 of 55 in his first defeat of the season.
New England got goals from eight different players including two from Callum Crawford and Andrew Kew. Crawford led New England with five points while Kew added to his impressive rookie season with four points. The Black Wolves also got goals from a few different names as Colton Watkinson, Creighton Reid, and Tony Malcolm scored in the loss.
One bright spot for New England was special teams as they connected on three of five power plays. The Black Wolves league best penalty kill also stayed strong against the NLL’s top power play, killing off three of four man advantages. Georgia won the loose ball battle picking up 79 to New England’s 62 but the Black Wolves won 18 of 25 face offs on the day.
New England will be back in action at Mohegan Sun Arena next Saturday when they take on Vancouver at 7:00 P.M. EST.