UNCASVILLE, April 7, 2017 — Visiting Georgia temporarily derailed the New England Black Wolves’ playoff push Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena, jumping out to a quick lead on the way to a 21-12 victory in National Lacrosse League action.
It was the second straight week Georgia (10-4) tied a franchise record with 21 goals, who clinched a playoff berth with the victory. The Swarm beat Colorado 21-13 last week. Randy Staats (five goals, six assists) set the tone with his goal 40 seconds into the game, and by early in the second quarter, the Swarm led 7-1.
New England (7-8) spent the rest of the night chasing the highest scoring offense in the NLL, but could not get closer than four goals. And each time that happened, the Swarm responded with a flurry of goals.
The Black Wolves pulled within 10-6 with 1:23 remaining in the first half on an unassisted goal by Sheldon Burns, and seemed to have settled down after a rough start. But Georgia’s Kiel Matisz scored less than a minute after Burns, and the Swarm opened the second half with two goals to push the lead back to 13-6.
New England put together another run, cutting the deficit to 13-9 on goals by Joel Coyle, Kevin Crowley and Kevin Buchanan. But after a goal by Shawn Evans that would have cut the deficit to 13-10 was over-turned upon review, the Swarm responded with a pair of goals to make it 15-10.
After Buchanan’s goal made it 15-11, Georgia put together a four-goal run that closed out the win.
Johnny Powless (three goals, four assists) and Matisz (three goals, three assists) had hat tricks while Jordan Hall (two goals, five assists), Lyle Thompson (two goals, four assists) and Miles Thompson (two goals, three assists) had multiple goals.
Kevin Crowley (three goals, three assists) had his seventh hat trick of the season while Buchanan finished with two goals and two assists.
New England is at Western Conference leader Saskatchewan next Saturday night. The Black Wolves close out the regular season with a home game against Vancouver on Saturday, April 29, at 7 p.m.
The top three teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs. The Black Wolves are 7-8 with three games to go and are followed by Buffalo (5-8) and Rochester (5-9).
National Lacrosse League
x-clinched playoff berth
New England 15, Toronto 14
Georgia 21, New England 12
Buffalo at Calgary, 9 p.m.
Vancouver at Saskatchewan, 9:30 p.m.
Friday, April 14
Buffalo at Toronto
Saturday, April 15
Buffalo at Georgia
Rochester at Colorado
New England at Saskatchewan
Calgary at Vancouver