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Rock Season Ends With 13-9 Loss To Swarm

Toronto Swept In East Division Final

Duluth, GA – The Georgia Swarm defeated the Toronto Rock 13-9 in game two of the East Division Final on Saturday night at the Infinite Energy Arena, ending the Rock’s season. Georgia’s 2-0 series win earns them a trip to the Champion’s Cup best-of-three final series that begins in two weeks in Georgia.

“Ultimately, they were better for 60 minutes,” said Rock head coach Matt Sawyer. “We had a rough start and we were able to claw our way out of that hole, but we just weren’t good enough in the first half. Offence, defence, goaltending, it all goes together. We weren’t good enough as a team here to win on the road and it definitely stings.”

Less than three minutes into the first quarter, Georgia had built a 3-0, but the Rock got goals from Reid Reinholdt and Brodie Merrill just 56 seconds apart to draw to within one, trailing 3-2. Two more Swarm goals were answered by two more Rock goals, leaving Toronto down 5-4 after one quarter. Following Georgia’s fifth goal at the 10:10 mark, Nick Rose replaced Brandon Miller in the Toronto net.

Georgia scored a pair of goals to go up 7-4, 6:08 into the second quarter. Kasey Beirnes got the Rock back on the board, but a quick answer from the Swarm’s Shayne Jackson restored Georgia’s three-goal lead. Kieran McArdle closed the gap again for the Rock, but Jackson’s second of the game pushed Georgia ahead 9-6 at the half.

Reinholdt’s third goal of the game, just 26 seconds into the second half, gave the Rock some life right off the hop. Rose kept the Swarm off the board until Lyle Thompson scored unassisted off a bit of a lucky bounce as the ball popped up high in the air and he came down with it and quickly connected. An even third quarter on the scoreboard meant the Rock still trailed by three heading for the final quarter.

It was once again Reinholdt that opened the scoring for the Rock, closing the gap to 10-8. The game’s turning point took place just moments after the Reinholdt marker as Rock forward Dan Lintner delivered a check on Georgia defender Bryan Cole that earned Lintner a five-minute major for an illegal bodycheck. With less than 10 minutes to go, the Rock spent five full minutes shorthanded as Georgia scored just once on the power play to go up 11-8. The two teams traded goals and Jordan Hall would seal the win for the Swarm with an empty netter, making the final 13-9.

“We ran into a pretty hot goaltender tonight,” said Rose. “That’s one of the best games I’ve probably ever seen Mike Poulin play and I’ve been around him quite a bit over the years. It was a tough one, coming out of halftime we thought we had a good chance to pull it off, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

Miller allowed five goals on nine shots in just over ten minutes of work. Rose gave the Rock a fighting chance allowing just seven goals in almost 49 minutes of work and made 30 saves on 37 shots.

Reinholdt led all Rock goal scorers with four on the night. Brodie Merrill, Kieran McArdle, Kasey Beirnes and Stephan Leblanc all scored once.

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