Swarm Beat Desert Dogs, Clinch Playoff Berth

The Georgia Swarm welcomed the Las Vegas Desert Dogs into Gas South Arena on Saturday night for a Week 19 showdown. Georgia needed only a win to clinch a playoff berth, while Las Vegas was eliminated from playoff contention after suffering their 11th loss of the season to Vancouver last week. The usual suspects showed up for the Swarm in a big second half, turning a tie game at the break into a 13-9 victory. The Swarm improve to 10-7, remain the #4 seed, and clinch a playoff berth. They have now won four of their last five games and are 3-1 on their season-ending five-game homestand. Las Vegas drops to 4-12 with the loss; they finish their season with home games against Colorado and Buffalo.

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Desert Dogs keep Swarm in check in tight first half

Charlie Bertrand scored just 16 seconds into the game to quiet the home crowd and put Vegas up 1-0. It didn’t last long, as Georgia took a 2-1 lead on goals from Lyle Thompson (2:28) and Andrew Kew (3:30). Zack Greer countered with a power play goal (5:09) to level the game again, but the Swarm responded with a three-goal run. Seth Oakes (7:24), Thompson’s second (8:28), and Brendan Bomberry (11:26 power play) put Georgia up 5-2.

The Desert Dogs rallied, with Connor Kirst scoring in transition (12:26), then Greer tallying his second goal (13:19) to cut the lead to 5-4 after one quarter. The second quarter was much quieter, as Shayne Jackson (3:11) scored the Swarm’s only goal to push the lead back to two. Casey Jackson (8:16) and Dylan Watson (13:50) scored for Las Vegas to tie the game at 6-6 going into halftime.

Swarm pull away in second half to clinch a playoff berth

Shayne Jackson (1:33) and Kew (2:13) also scored their second goal to quickly put the Swarm up 8-6 to start the second half. However, Bomberry took five-minute major penalty for Georgia, and Las Vegas capitalized on it. Watson (10:30) and Casey Jackson (10:58) scored power play goals to tie the game once again. Bryan Cole broke the tie, going back-to back (12:16; 14:59) to give the Swarm a 10-8 lead with 15 minutes left to play. Cole’s second goal stood after a challenge from Vegas head coach Shawn Williams, as reviews showed one-tenth of a second remaining on the game clock when the shot crossed the goal line.

Bertrand scored his second goal of the game (1:20 fourth quarter) to pull the Desert Dogs within one. But they would get no closer, as Kew’s hat trick goal (6:34 power play) put Georgia up two again. Shayne Jackson then added a pair of insurance goals (7:31; 12:44) to seal the victory and the Swarm’s first playoff berth since 2019.

Other Stats of Note

Desert Dogs: Casey Jackson (2g, 1a); Watson (2g, 1a); Bertrand (2g); Greer (2g); Kirst (1g); Jack Hannah (6a)

Swarm: Shayne Jackson (4g, 1a); Kew (3g, 3a); Thompson (2g, 2a); Cole (2g, 2a); Oakes (1g, 4a); Bomberry (1g, 1a); Brady Kearnan (2a)

Faceoffs: LV 17 of 26; GA 9 of 26

Power Play: LV 3 for 4; GA 2 for 4

Landon Kells (LV): 39 saves; Brett Dobson (GA): 47 saves

Greer left the game in the second quarter with a lower body injury and did not return

The Swarm can still climb up to the #3 seed with a win over Rochester in Week 21, plus Albany (10-6) losses to PCLC and New York

“Muffler” Mike Kostiuk

“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 covers NLL, PLL, WLA, and Major Series Lacrosse for the network.

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