GEORGIA SWARM FALLS SHORT IN THRILLING SEASON OPENER AT PEPSI CENTER
Rookies Lyle Thompson and Randy Staats each tallied hat tricks in their pro debuts
(DENVER – Jan. 1) – The Georgia Swarm and Colorado Mammoth provided fans with a thrilling back-and-forth NLL season opener Friday night at Pepsi Center. In the end however, the Swarm fell just short on the road losing 16-15 in front of a rowdy crowd of 15,090 fans on New Year’s Day. Friday’s game marked the first-ever regular season game in Georgia Swarm team history.
After trailing Colorado for a majority of the evening, the Swarm took their first lead of the game at 14-13 midway through the fourth quarter after forward Kiel Matisz (1G, 3A) went untouched on a cut up the middle and converted. Colorado responded shortly after on a goal from Eli McLaughlin (1G, 1A) to tie the game on a power play chance.
The two teams then traded a few possessions before No. 1 overall pick Lyle Thompson (3G, 1A) scored a highlight-reel diving goal to put the Swarm back out front at 15-14 with 3:18 to play. Thompson’s goal was Georgia’s final score however as Colorado forward Callum Crawford (2G, 4A) notched the equalizer a minute later, and then John Grant Jr. (2G, 5A) scored the game-winning goal with 45 seconds left to seal the deal for the Mammoth.
“We’re never happy with a loss,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “We did some things well, and the things we made mistakes on are fully correctable, and that was the message that we told the guys. We’ll learn from this, and have an opportunity next weekend at home to get back in the win column.”
All four of the Swarm’s first-round picks scored in their NLL debuts Friday night, with Thompson and Randy Staats (3G, 4A) leading the way with hat tricks. Staats posted a team-high seven points and Jesse King and Chad Tutton each added a goal apiece.
“We were really happy with all four draft picks in the game,” Comeau said. “Our offense put up 15 goals, which is a good number and we had lots of threats. Our younger players have a bright future in this league.”
Fifth-year forward Johnny Powless registered the first-ever goal in Georgia Swarm team history when he scored at the 6:11 mark in the first quarter. Powless finished the game with six points (2G, 4A), and his second score came with 21 seconds left in the third quarter to tie the game at 11.
Georgia managed to outshoot Colorado 57-44 on the night, and the two teams split 18-of-36 faceoffs. Captain Jordan MacIntosh took a majority of the draws against the Mammoth, finishing 16-for-33, to go along with two goals and two assists.
In net, Swarm goalie Zach Higgins made 28 saves on 44 shots, while Alex Buque made 42 stops in the win. Swarm Assistant captain Jason Noble posted a game-high five forced turnovers and added seven loose balls.
The Swarm will host its inaugural home opener at Infinite Energy Arena on Saturday, Jan. 9 against the Toronto Rock for a 7:05 p.m. faceoff. Call 844-4-GASWARM or visit GeorgiaSwarm.com to purchase tickets. All Swarm home games feature FREE PARKING. To view the Swarm’s full 18-game schedule in 2016, visit GeorgiaSwarm.com/games.
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