The Georgia Swarm rode a balanced attack to remain the lone unbeaten team in the National Lacrosse League.
Three Swarm players had hat tricks while seven players had three points or more in a 14-12 win over the Vancouver Stealth on Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre.
The Swarm improved to 4-0 while Vancouver fell to 2-4.
“Our offense is based on the ball moving and on any night any of those guys can have a big night. We try not to rely on just one guy, we have lots of go-to weapons,” said Georgia coach Ed Comeau.
“We just try to move the ball and keep everyone involved.”
“Just doing what we have been doing all year, sharing the ball, moving our feet. It doesn’t matter who scores as long as we are scoring,” added Georgia’s Shayne Jackson, who led the way with four goals.
Vancouver had played the night before, losing in Saskatoon to the Rush, while the Swarm sat waiting for the Stealth.
But it was the home side who came out on fire, taking a 5-1 lead after one quarter.
The second quarter would see the Swarm surge ahead to lead 8-6 at the half.
The back-and-forth would continue with Vancouver forging ahead 11-10 after three quarters.
And the game would be tied at 12 with five minutes top play before Lyle Thompson scored the game-winner with 2:56 remaining.
Pressing for the equalizer and just over a minute remaining, the Swarm would force a turnover at center and score into the empty net for the game’s last goal.
Stealth coach Jamie Batley said he was proud of his team and the effort they displayed.
“We came out tonight and played our hearts out,” he said, referencing the fact the team has played two sets of back-to-back games and six games in a three-week span, with 17,000 kilometres of travel.
“Given the circumstances, I thought (Vancouver) played outstanding,” Comeau said.
“It is tough in this league when you have a team resting for you and you have to travel.”
“We got a couple of bounces there at the end and they had some opportunities but our goalie made the saves and we buried some really good chances.”
Randy Staats led the Swarm with three goals and six assists while Jordan Hall had six assists. Kiel Matisz and three goals and an assist.
For the Stealth, Logan Schuss (three goals, four assists) and Corey Small (one goal, five assists) led the way. Rhys Duch and Garrett Billings each and two goals and an assist.
Vancouver rookie James Rahe — who is from Langley — also scored his first career NLL goal, finishing the game with a goal and two helpers. On his goal, he drove the net and beat the goalie in the first quarter.
“I have been fortunate enough to play my whole life here and to score my first career goal here was a dream come true,” he said.
On the play, the defender gave him too a lane to the net and Rahe took advantage.
“He made some space for himself. That is what he has to do in this league, that is his game,” Batley said.
Mike Poulin made 45 saves for the victory as Vancouver outshot Georgia 57-51.
Tye Belanger, making his first start for the Stealth, had 38 saves.
“He gave us a chance to win and that is what the goalies need to do,” Batley said.