To the dismay of the Vancouver Warriors, the 14-7 loss in Saturday night’s game against the Georgia Swarm at Rogers Arena was never really in question.
The first half of the match was far from the home game the Warriors wanted to put on display for the over eight thousand fans in attendance. After 30 minutes, the Swarm were ahead 9-3, and despite a valiant fourth-quarter surge from the Warriors, the Swarm were determined to win their fourth game in five contests and went on to do so.
Unfortunately, even though the Warriors knew the Swarm’s offence would pose a difficult challenge for their defense, the Swarm countered every attempt the Warriors threw at them to try and make it a competitive match. One of the most glaring issues according to Warriors Head Coach Chris Gill was the amount of power-play opportunities/goals the Swarm got – they were 6-7 on the power-play Saturday.
“Our defense let in four or five five-on-five goals against a really strong defensive team; we were really good five-on-five in the back-end there,” Gill said. “That’s a team loaded with talent on the front end there. If it wasn’t for special teams, the score would have been a lot closer. We just couldn’t stop them on the power play or the six-on-five.”
Warriors forward Riley Loewen added that there were many mistakes on the offensive end as well that made it difficult to build momentum.
“[We were] dropping passes (at both end of the floor),” Loewen said. “Our transition wasn’t there, and there was no grit out there – not enough grit.”
Ultimately, though, it can be said that the Swarm did what they do best: score. Swarm Head Coach Ed Comeau said that his team focuses on giving all of his forwards enough chances to score.
“That’s one of our offensive focuses, not relying on one or two guys to score,” Comeau said. “On any given night, someone could have a big night and score four or five, but that’s not every game so, I think for us [spreading the offence] is really key and makes us tough to defend.”
The Warriors recognize that they are capable of putting together a much better effort for a full 60 minutes. With five of their last six games against West Division opponents, they can prove that they can compete with some of the toughest teams in the NLL starting next weekend against the Saskatchewan Rush.
Playing the role of the scrappy underdog is not uncommon for the Warriors over the last few years, but the confidence that is growing in the locker room is creating an exciting and admirable product on the floor. Sitting only 3.5 games out of the West Division lead, Coach Gill knows this team can still show that they deserve to be in the postseason.
“We hate losing, we want to win, and that’s the kind of the problem when you’re down big in some games that everyone wants to do so much,” Gill said. “That’s counter-productive, and we talked about that after the game. There is no quit in this group.”