The Georgia Swarm faced the Rochester Knighthawks at Blue Cross Arena in a crucial Week 21 matchup. The Knighthawks could clinch a playoff spot with a win, and eliminate Philadelphia in the process. The Swarm, winners of 8 of their last 9 games, could take another step towards one of the biggest regular season turnarounds in NLL history, but would have to do it without forward Andrew Kew. The Knighthawks snapped a 4-game losing streak with a 12-10 victory. The win improves their record to 10-7 and clinches them a playoff berth. Georgia drops to 8-9, snapping their six game win streak. The Swarm face Halifax (9-8) in Week 22, with the winner clinching the remaining playoff spot in the East.
Knighthawks and Swarm battle to first half tie
Bryan Cole (1g, 3a; 5:12) kicked off the scoring for Georgia with a power play marker. Rochester responded with a three-goal run, with Thomas Hoggarth (2g; 8:27) leveling the score. Turner Evans (2g; 12:59) and Paul Dawson (14:19) then gave the Knighthawks a 3-1 lead.
The Swarm would heat up in the second quarter, outscoring the Knighthawks 5-3. Ryan Lanchbury (2g; 0:39), Shayne Jackson (2g, 3a; 3:39; 9:07), Lyle Thompson (2g, 1a; 11:15), and Brendan Bomberry (2g, 1a; 14:04) found the back of the net for Georgia. Rochester countered with Holden Cattoni (1g, 1a; 1:37), Hoggarth’s second (4:35), and Connor Fields (2g, 3a; 7:45) for a 6-6 halftime score.
Four-goal run in third helps Knighthawks clinch a playoff berth
Lyle Thompson netted his second goal just 1:09 into the third quarter. Jeremy Thompson (1g, 1a) then won the ensuing faceoff and scored six seconds later to give the Swarm an 8-6 lead. The Knighthawks then changed the complexion of the game with a four-goal run. Curtis Knight (1g, 1a; 4:31), the second from Fields (9:35), Ryan Smith (1g, 3a; 11:11), and Matt Gilray (2g, 2a; 12:50) in transition put Rochester up by two again. Lanchbury’s second goal (13:23) broke the run and cut the deficit to 10-9 entering the final frame.
Unfortunately, the Swarm could get no closer. Evans scored his second (6:08), then Gilray added his second transition marker (14:33) to push the lead to 12-9. Bomberry scored for Georgia with nine seconds remaining, but the Knighthawks would run out the clock. It is the first playoff berth for Rochester under the new iteration of the franchise.
Other Stats of Note
Saves: Brett Dobson (GA) 32; Rylan Hartley (ROC) 46
Connor Fields (ROC): 14 Loose Balls (led all players)
Faceoffs: GA 12; ROC 14
Jeremy Thompson (GA): Becomes the third player in NLL history with 2,200 career faceoff wins
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“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk was formally introduced to box lacrosse when he attended a New England Black Wolves game on a whim in 2016. Instantly hooked, he has since become an avid follower of the National Lacrosse League. Following the postponement of the 2019-2020 NLL season, he was offered the chance to share his wealth of statistical knowledge and unique insights with the lacrosse community at large. He cheerfully accepted, and currently serves as Edge of Philly’s correspondent for both the Albany FireWolves and New York Riptide.