Resilient Swarm performance not enough to defeat the home team
The Georgia Swarm (12-5) saw their five-game win streak snapped in dramatic fashion against the Calgary Roughnecks (9-8) in Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday as they lost 14-13 to the West Division team.
After trading goals all night, a shorthanded marker from Curtis Dickson in the final minutes of the game capped the game’s scoring, and the Swarm were dealt their fifth loss of the season despite their resilient efforts in the second half.
“Obviously we’re extremely disappointed with the outcome, but we had some adversity with (Mike) Poulin going down and some other guys not playing,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “We battled hard, and we were in a one-goal game … We just have to build upon that and be ready for next week.”
Poulin left the game late in the second quarter due to a lower body injury, and Kevin Orleman was superb replacing him between the pipes, stopping 26 SOG to help keep the Swarm within striking distance in the second half.
“Kevin did an outstanding job, and that’s what we need him to do when he gets called upon,” Comeau said. “He’s got to step up and play well, and he did that.”
Holden Cattoni struck early and fiercely against his former team, having a hand in the Swarm’s first five goals of the game. With the Roughnecks up 4-2 after the first quarter, both teams came out firing and scored a collective 12 goals in the second quarter.
The Swarm managed to take a 6-5 lead after a four-goal run capped by an extra attacker goal from Zed Williams, but the Roughnecks would outscore the Swarm 5-2 in the final 9:14 min. of the second quarter. Poulin left the net late in the quarter after suffering a lower body injury during a frantic save, and Orleman stood in his place for the remainder of the game. At halftime, the Swarm were down 10-8.
“We made some D adjustments and just tightened up some things,” Comeau said about the changes made at halftime. “Our offense was going well. We knew we’d score some goals, and we just needed to really focus on the back end, and we did a great job of that. A lot of guys played really well and picked up a lot of loose balls, which I thought in the first half we gave (the Roughnecks) a number of multiple possessions … That was the big adjustment, just playing a little better defense and giving our O guys a chance to get going.”
Williams put the Swarm back within one goal early in the second half, and Miles Thompson’s second goal of the night tied the game up for the seventh time that night. Dane Dobbie’s second goal retook the lead for the home team, but a transition goal from Shayne Jackson knotted the two teams at 11 when the third quarter ended.
The Swarm were unable to hold onto the lead in the fourth quarter. Miles and Lyle Thompson retook the lead for the Swarm twice, but Dobbie answered both of them as he put the Roughnecks on his back. Finding themselves on the man-advantage late in the game, the Swarm could not prevent Dickson from scoring a shorthanded goal, and his fourth goal of the game gave the Roughnecks the 14-13 win.
Lyle led the Swarm with seven points (2G, 5A), Williams (3G, 3A) and Jackson (1G, 5A) both recorded six points, and Miles (3G, 2A) and Cattoni (4G, 1A) finished with five points each.
Despite earning the loss, Orleman turned in a strong performance after replacing Poulin between the pipes. He finished the night with a 9.19 GAA and an .839 SV%.
Dobbie led the Roughnecks with eight points (4G, 4A), followed by Dickson and his six points (4G, 2A). Christian Del Bianco stopped 35 Swarm shots, posting a .729 SV%.
The Swarm return home on Saturday, April 20 to take on the Philadelphia Wings in the regular season finale. When last the two met, the Swarm won on the Wings’ home turf, 13-11. Even with the Wings eliminated from the postseason in their first year as an expansion team, Comeau is expecting them to bring their best against the Swarm.
“You have to have a short memory whether you have a win or a loss,” Comeau said. “We know Philly – although they’re out of the playoffs, they’ve played a lot of one- and two-goal games this year. They want to end on a high note, and there’s nothing like coming in and knocking off a team that’s going to the playoffs. There’s no risk of us taking them lightly. They’re going to be prepared.
“This is their final game; this is their playoff game for them. We say it’s a playoff game for us, too. We’re still battling for seeding and everything else, so we need to make sure we have our heads on straight and be physically ready to go against them.”
The Swarm will be hosting Fan Appreciation Night presented by Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC. Faceoff is set for 7:05 p.m. ET. Early arriving fans can receive a Swarm Team Poster courtesy of Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC and can get autographs from Swarm players on the floor postgame. Tickets are available by calling 844-4-GASWARM or by visiting GeorgiaSwarm.com/Fan.
The Swarm clinched a home playoff game and will welcome a division rival to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino at Infinite Energy Arena on Monday, May 6. Tickets for the East Division Semifinals are on sale now at GeorgiaSwarm.com/Playoffs. Ticket packages include two-game and four-game playoff packs and are available by calling 844-4-GASWARM.