While the Georgia Swarm (3-0) remained undefeated with a 10-8 win against the Vancouver Warriors (1-3), it was no easy task. The Warriors came to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino at Infinite Energy Arena on Saturday, Jan. 12 and challenged the Swarm on their home turf in front of nearly 5,000 fans.
The night was highlighted by the Swarm’s first pick in the 2018 NLL Entry Draft Brendan Bomberry recording his first career NLL goal and hat trick, a halftime and postgame performance from multi-platinum selling singer-songwriter Jerrod Niemann, an appearance from Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson, and by Swarm head coach Ed Comeau winning his 100th career NLL game, 89 regular season wins and 11 postseason wins.
“I didn’t even know,” Comeau said about his 100th win as an NLL head coach. “Kind of surprised by that, but a win in this league is hard to get, and hopefully we’ll get many more for the Swarm this year.”
“Full credit to Vancouver,” he followed up. “They’ve got a lot of guys playing only a couple of games in the league, and they battled hard. They’ve got something to prove, guys are down there trying to earn a spot in this league, a regular spot. They played really well.”
While Bomberry and Miles Thompson both recorded hat tricks, the Swarm defense saved their best for last to not squander their performances, preventing the Warriors from scoring for the last 15 min.
Miles came out firing for the Swarm, scoring the first two goals of the night. Jordan McBride netted his first goal of the night, followed 11 seconds later by Keegan Bal. Bomberry had the last word with an unassisted goal, the first one of his NLL career. Georgia was up 3-2 after the first 15 min.
The Warriors kicked things up another level in the second quarter. McBride scored his second and third goal of the night – both assisted by Bal – to give Vancouver the lead. Justin Salt and Bal scored one more each for a four-goal Warriors run. Lyle Thompson managed to cut into the run, the score now 6-4 with under five minutes left.
Zed Williams received a great feed from Randy Staats when he was all alone on the crease. Williams pumped some abbreviated fakes before ricocheting a shot off the top left corner of the goal into the bottom right corner. The buzzer sounded under two minutes later with the Warriors heading back to the locker room up 6-5.
Bomberry found himself in the penalty box in the beginning of the third quarter. Georgia’s penalty kill unit did as its name suggests. Once he was out of the box, Bomberry played an offensive shift and whipped the ball into the net to tie the game at six goals apiece.
Bal broke the tie and Logan Schuss scored a power play goal to put the Warriors up 8-6. Miles received a behind-the-back pass from Lyle and scored the final goal of the third quarter, ending it with Vancouver still up, 8-7.
The Swarm defense stepped up their collective game for the final quarter, preventing the Warriors from finding the back of the net once in the final 15 minutes. Jordan MacIntosh scored a five-hole goal in transition before Bomberry’s diving hat trick to take the final lead of the game.
“Our offense, once again, we were struggling a little bit, clicking just with timing,” Comeau said. “Brendan was a goal-scorer in college. We asked him to play a D role for us, but we have confidence when he goes up there that he’s going to bury the ball. That was a great game for him, and those goals were huge for us.”
Lyle recorded the final tally of the night. He broke up a bounce pass from the Warriors, collected the loose ball, and streaked off towards the goal. All alone, he dove across the left side of the crease and buried the ball into the black. After a furious flurry of shots from Vancouver, Georgia held on in the final seconds for the 10-8 win, its third-straight win.
Lyle led the Swarm in points with four (2G, 2A). Goaltender Mike Poulin finished with an .800 SV% after making 32 saves.
For the Warriors, they were led by McBride and Bal with five points (3G, 2A) each. Netminder Aaron Bold was handed the loss after stopping 37 of 47 SOG, a .787 SV%.
The Swarm head to the City of Brotherly Love for their first game against the Philadelphia Wings (0-3) on Saturday, Jan. 12. Faceoff is set for 7:00 p.m. ET.
“We’re going to have to be ready,” Comeau said. “(Philadelphia) is going to be intense with the crowd, and we’re going to have to be the same.”
Fans can catch the game on the B/R Live app available through iTunes, Google Play, Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire.
Georgia returns on Sunday, Jan. 27 to take on the Saskatchewan Rush. Faceoff is set for 4:05 p.m. ET. Billed as the Meeting of the Champions presented by IceByrd Frozen Yogurt, the last two teams to win an NLL World Championship will meet for the only time this regular season.
Early arriving fans can receive a Stinger Snowglobe. Tickets are available at GeorgiaSwarm.com/Champions or by calling 844-4-GASWARM.
Play of the Game:
A first career goal is cool, but how about a first career hat trick?
Bomberry’s third goal of the night was the game-winner. He found himself with the Warriors defender behind him and an open lane to the crease. Bomberry took the opportunity and dove across the top of the crease, shooting the ball between Bold’s legs before crashing onto the floor.