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The Toronto Rock (8-5) took on the Georgia Swarm (8-6) at First Ontario Centre in Hamilton Saturday night, in front of 8,841. This was the first half of a home and home with the Swarm that will conclude next Friday in Duluth, Georgia. The Rock had won six of their last seven games, while the Swarm came into the game as winners of three straight.
Georgia’s Lyle Thompson has 39 goals in 13 games to lead the NLL, with the Rock’s Tom Schreiber is just behind with 32 goals in 10 games (a slightly higher, and league-best, goals-per game average of 3.2). Both teams “special teams” have played big roles in their results so far this year. The Rock have the league’s second best power play at home (53.6%), with the Swarm having the league’s second-best penalty kill on the road (67.7%). Overall sitting first on the PK, setting the stage for an all out battle in all aspects in this game.
The goalie match-up had Nick Rose for the Rock vs. Mike Poulin for the Swarm.
Although Lyle Thompson was scratched due to a lower body injury, Georgia got out to an early lead, and never relinquished it en route to a 10-6 victory.
To the game…
The Swarm opened the scoring on a transition play with Jeff Henrick (1g,0a) firing a laser off a long lead pass from Mike Poulin at 2:47, then increasing their lead when Brendan Bomberry (3g,0a) scored off a Shayne Jackson pass at 4:28.
The Rock finally got on the board on the power play when Tom Schreiber (2g,1a) fired a Reid Reinholdt pass past Mike Poulin at 11:39, the Swarm got it back when Adam Weideman (1g,1a) scored from his knees off a Jordan Hall pass at 12:38. Georgia got one more before the quarter ended when Brendan Bomberry scored his second of the game off a Shayne Jackson pass at 14:33.
After one quarter, Georgia 4 Toronto 1.
Zach Manns (3g,1a) opened the second quarter scoring for Toronto firing a howitzer off a Rob Hellyer pass at 7:02, but Georgia came right back with a goal on the power play. Brendan Bomberry scored his third of the game converting a Shayne Jackson pass at 10:04.
At the half, Georgia 5 Toronto 2.
Zach Manns opened the second half scoring on the power play, converting a Tom Schreiber pass at 1:58, followed by Manns scoring again off a Dan Dawson pass at 4:22.
The Swarm came back with Bryan Cole (1g,0a) converting a Shayne Jackson pass at 6:53, but Toronto came back at 11:26. Poulin got a piece of Tom Schreiber’s shot, but it still squeaked over the line.
After three quarters, Georgia 6 Toronto 5.
Shayne Jackson (1g,4a) opened the fourth quarter scoring on a beautiful individual effort diving across the crease at 3:02.
Brad Kri (1g,0a) got one back for Toronto in transition, converting a Dan Craig pass at 4:02, but the Swarm came right back with Stephan Leblanc (1g,1a) scoring off a Jordan Hall pass at 4:31.
The Swarm finished the game with two empty net goals to seal the deal. Kasen Tarbell (1g,0a) scored the first one at 13:57, followed by T.J. Comizio (1g,0a) scoring at 14:28.
Final score, Georgia 10 Toronto 6.
“We faced a team that was much hungrier with a little bit of desperation in their play,” said Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer. “They won all the little battles out there, owned the loose balls and the second effort plays. Georgia was much better than us tonight.”Quotes courtesy of the Toronto Rock
- First Star Brendan Bomberry
- Second Star Mike Poulin
- Third Star Zach Manns
By the Numbers:
- Toronto outshot Georgia 49-45.
- TD Ierlan of the Rock won 15 of 20 faceoffs.
- The Swarm went 1 for 3 on the power play, while Toronto went 2 for 3.
- Toronto won the loose ball battle 82-55.
Shayne Jackson 1g, 4a
Brendan Bomberry 3g, 0a
Stephan Leblanc 1g, 1a
Zach Manns 3g,1a
Tom Schreiber 2g, 1a
Rob Hellyer 0g, 2a
Dan Dawson set a record in this game with the most games played in NLL history with 307.
“All games are special, you get to play a game you love and I’m very blessed to get to play this game for a long time,” said Dawson. “This game’s been very good to me. Over 20 years, you build these unbelievable relationships, and you get to meet so many wonderful people.”Quote courtesy of the Toronto Rock
- Dawson also tied John Tavares with the most all-time assists in NLL history during this game.
- Nick Rose became the 9th goalie in NLL history with over 5,000 career saves.
These two teams meet again next Friday night in Georgia in the back end of the home and home match-up.
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.