Despite the loss, the Swarm are still near the top of the standings in the NLL
The Georgia Swarm (7-3) fell prey to the Buffalo Bandits’ (7-2) hot offense and fell 19-9 on Harrah’s Cherokee Field at Infinite Energy Arena on Saturday night.
Despite playing in front of 7,677 fans on Native Heritage Night, the Swarm were handled by the Bandits on both ends of the floor and suffered their worst defeat of the season.
“’Dominated’ would be the word,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said when asked to sum up the night in one word. “They dominated us in every facet of the game. They outworked us, out-loose-balled us, everything. Full credit, they played with energy right from the beginning, a lot of multiple possessions, loose balls, a lot of things we talked about that we didn’t want them to execute, they did. In this league, if you don’t show up and play, that’s the result you get.”
The Swarm found themselves on the penalty kill eight times on Saturday, but the Bandits were able to cash in on seven of those chances.
The game started with three goals from Buffalo as Georgia went scoreless in the first 15 minutes. Lyle Thompson won a loose ball battle and made a great pass to Connor Sellars for the Swarm’s first goal in the second quarter. Bandits captain Steve Priolo would answer nearly four minutes later.
Down 4-1 with nearly 10 minutes left in the second quarter, Zed Williams halved Buffalo’s lead. The Swarm were awarded a penalty shot after a Bandits player checked Jordan MacIntosh in the back in transition. Lyle easily netted the goal, putting the Swarm back within a goal.
The Bandits responded with five of the last six goals in the second quarter. It was broken up by Williams’ second goal of the night, but the two teams went to the locker room with the Bandits riding high on a 9-4 lead.
The visiting team’s scoring run continued into the second quarter as the Bandits rattled off five goals, chasing Mike Poulin from the pipes with their twelfth goal of the evening. Shayne Jackson finally staunched the bleeding after receiving a zig-zag pass for the Swarm’s fifth goal of the night. Corey Small had the last word, ending the third quarter with the Bandits up 15-5.
Both teams traded goals in the fourth quarter, scoring four apiece. The Swarm did not seem able to gain any momentum to put a significant dent into the Bandits’ lead, ultimately falling 19-9.
Kevin Orleman subbed in for Poulin in the third quarter, playing for 24:53 min. and making 17 saves on 24 SOG. Poulin spent 35:07 min. and made 34 saves on 46 SOG.
“I don’t think we offered any support to either of our goalies tonight, and in this league, when you give shooters time and space either inside or outside, they’re going to score goals,” Comeau said.
For the Bandits, Dhane Smith led the team with 11 points, all assists. Shawn Evans was a close second with 10 points (4G, 6A), and Small posted seven points (5G, 2A). Matt Vinc earned the win after allowing only nine goals against and finished with a .780 SV%.
“We played ten (games) in a row, two back-to-backs,” MacIntosh said. “We have one more next weekend. We need to right the ship, go into the bye (week) with a win. I think going in at 8-3, we’ll be feeling good, not great, but we’re going to a place that’s not easy to play in with one of the best goalies in the league, really solid offense, great defense. So, it’s going to be a challenge, but hopefully we can step up and show what we’re really all about, unlike tonight.”
The Swarm pack up and head to Pepsi Center to take on the Colorado Mammoth (2-5) on Saturday, Feb. 16. Faceoff is set for 9:00 p.m. ET. Fans can catch the game on the B/R Live app available through iTunes, Google Play, Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire.
After a bye week following the Mammoth game, the Swarm return to Infinite Energy Arena to welcome the Rochester Knighthawks (2-6) on Saturday, March 2. Faceoff is set for 7:05 p.m. ET. The Swarm will host Heroes Night presented by Axiom Corporation. Fans can purchase tickets at GeorgiaSwarm.com/HeroesNight or by calling 844-4-GASWARM.