Georgia Holds Off the Wings, 12-11

6679 fans were treated to an absolute masterpiece of a lacrosse game at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday evening.

The 4-3 Georgia Swarm, owners of one of the most potent offenses in the National Lacrosse League visited the Philadelphia Wings in what, despite the 11-10 score was a battle of defense and goaltending.

Mike Poulin of Georgia and Zach Higgins for Philadelphia put on a clinic between the pipes.

With just :57 played, Blaze Riorden tip toed along the crease and converted a pretty passing play from the usual Philadelphia suspects, Matt Rambo and Kevin Crowley to put the home team in front, 1-0.

Georgia swarmed with a three goal run started by Shayne Jackson (3g,4a) at 2:35, Zed  Williams cashing in on a Zach Miller and Miles Thompson (2a) set up a third marker from Jordan Hall (2g, 3a) to put Georgia in front, 3-1 with just 9:33 into the contest.

Just twenty three ticks later, Matt Rambo (2g,5a) fired a howitzer behind Mike Poulin to make it a 3-2 contest.

Liam Byrnes (1g) banged home his first NLL goal on a fast break transition goal to bring Philadelphia even at 3-3 with just 1:40 to play in the quarter.

Jordan Hall orchestrated a great pick and roll and buried a beauty with help from Jackson and Lyle Thompson to end the opening stanza with Georgia in front, 4-3.

Just 1:53 in, Cory Vitarelli (1g,1a) brought the Wings back even, 4-4.

The Swarm pulled off another run, this one for four goals kick started by Poulin (1a) outletting Adam Weidemann (1g) on a pretty transition goal at 2:19.

Momentum was building at it took just forty two seconds for Zach Miller (1g,1a) to convert crisp passing from… who else? Jackson and Hall.

The deluge continued after just :18 with Joel White (1a) feeding Jackson to light the lamp again.

On the man up, Lyle Thompson (1g,4a) got on the goal sheet with help from Jackson and Randy Staats.

Georgia was on the verge of pulling away but this years version of the Wings are a gritty squad and countered with Trevor Baptiste (1a) and Rambo setting up Josh Currier (3g,1a) to put an end to the Georgia insurgance.

Rambo found Crowley with a sweet pass and twenty three seconds later, Philadelphia was trailing by two, 9-7.

Jackson lit the lamp once again to close the half with Georgia swarming, 10-7.

The defenses seized center stage and only one third quarter goal was registered with Kevin Crowley doing the honors.

Drama went to the forefront at the 13:44 mark when Randy Staats and Liam Patten came together.

Staats fired a right cross to Patten and was given two minors (roughing, slashing and an additional 5 minute roughing call) while Patten,visibly shaken, was assessed a minor for Roughing.

Philadelphia scored on the Matisz goal but could do no further damage.

The combatants moved to the final 15:00 minutes with Philly trailing, 10-8.

Kiel Matisz (1g,3a) made it a one goal game just :23 in. A back and forth battle ensued with Higgins and Poulin each making outstanding stops.

Alex Pace (1a) and Crowley did the grinding and Matt Rambo wowed the crowd with a nice individual effort to get it knotted at 10.

Philadelphia’s Public Enemy #1, Staats bagged a pair ninety seconds apart to give the Swarm the 12-10 edge. Philadelphia held Georgia scoreless for 25:26.

With just over a minute remaining, Josh Currier made it a one goal disadvantage.

Kiel Matisz went in alone on Poulin with :22 left and Poulin saved the Georgia bacon to effectively close out the contest.

Dis and Dat: To demonstrate how even this game was. Shots on goal were even at 44.

Loose balls slightly favored Philadelphia, 72-69.

Trevor Baptiste was his usual dominant self and was 24 of 28 on face offs while shagging 16 loose balls.

Gary Groob
Gary Groob

Gary Groob has been involved with Lacrosse for the majority of his life, whether playing, coaching, or covering the sport for the media.

An avid fan, with a real drive about helping to “grow the game”, Gary became part of podcasts about the game in 2010. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob was given an opportunity to write about lacrosse, and the rest as they say, is history.

Through many miles (flying and driving) Gary has made inroads with the National Lacrosse League, Major Series Lacrosse League, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, as well as the Arena Lacrosse League, covering the leagues, their teams, and players, working for, and in concert with all of them.

In the year 2020, Mr. Groob was made the media person for the Arena Lacrosse League, voted onto the board of directors of the Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club, as well as being made administrator of the Lacrosse page “Global Lacrosse” with a membership of 9000 members in over 90 Countries. Gary was also made an administrator of Lacrosse History Past Present and Future in 2022.

Mr. Groob co-hosts a weekly Lacrosse show on Spanglish Sports World, and ZingoTV channel 250, as well as writes a weekly lacrosse column for La Portada Canada News (both in print, and online).

Gary also hosts a Lacrosse talk show and podcast for The Edge of Philly Sports Network, seen live Sunday nights at 9pm (ET), and archived on the Edge of Philly YouTube page, as well as Spotify.

Mr. Groob’s other sports interests include Hockey, Football, Boxing, Wrestling, and Baseball, competing competitively in Boxing and Wrestling for many years.