Georgia Pulls Out Win 3:55 Into Overtime
Duluth, GA – The Georgia Swarm (4-5) got a much needed 14-13 OT win over the Toronto Rock (5-4) on Saturday night in Duluth, GA at the Infinite Energy Arena. The Swarm’s Shayne Jackson scored the overtime winner at the 3:55 mark of the extra period.
One season ago, these two teams met in the East Division Final with Georgia winning in two games and going on to win the NLL championship. In two regular season meetings last year, the teams each won once in OT, both in the other team’s building. In hindsight, tonight’s tight affair shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone.
“Both teams were competitive and battled out there,” said Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer. “It was lacrosse, it was a game of runs. We had ours early and then they pushed back. In the second half we settled in and it was more of the game we expected against them. In the end, we just weren’t good enough and they cashed in on their chance at the end. We created some opportunities in OT, it was a heck of a game and a tough one to lose.”
The Rock came out blazing hot, building a 5-0 lead. Dan Lintner, inserted into the lineup with Tom Schreiber out for 6-8 weeks with a knee injury, scored on the first shot of the game, just 22 seconds into the quarter. Georgia scored four straight to close the gap and the two teams exchanged goals after that, as the first quarter closed with the Rock up by a goal 6-5.
Toronto scored first in the second quarter, however the goal came after a failed Rock power play that saw Georgia goalie Mike Poulin make a series of big saves. So despite the goal, Georgia still seemed to have the momentum and went on another four-goal run to lead 9-7. Kieran McArdle scored in the final minute of the quarter to draw the Rock to within one, trailing 9-8 at halftime.
Rob Hellyer and Brett Hickey each tallied on the power play in the third quarter as Toronto outscored the Swarm 2-1 in the frame, leaving the game tied heading into the fourth quarter.
Adam Jones and Reid Reinholdt answered Georgia’s early fourth quarter tally to lead 12-11. The Swarm would again tie the game, but Jones scored his third goal of the game to give the Rock a 13-12 lead. With just over four minutes to play, Georgia scored on the power play to tie the game 13-13.
In overtime, both teams had their chances but it was Georgia’s Jackson with a crease-dive goal 3:55 into the sudden death extra period to win it for the Swarm, 14-13.
Jones, playing in his 100th career NLL game, led the goal scoring for the Rock with three tallies while he and Hellyer (2+5) each had 7 points. Hickey and Challen Rogers also each scored a pair of goals while singles came from Reinholdt, McArdle, Lintner and Damon Edwards.
Toronto didn’t escape without any injuries. Phil Caputo suffered an upper body injury in the first half, left the game and did not return. He will be re-evaluated by the Rock’s medical staff upon returning to Toronto.
The Rock will have a bye week next weekend and then will welcome the Swarm to Toronto and Air Canada Centre on Saturday, March 3rd for a rematch. The first 5,000 fans will receive a limited edition Brodie Merrill bobblehead courtesy of Bachly Construction.
For more information on Toronto Rock tickets, please visit torontorock.com/tickets or call 416-596-3075.