May 13, 2017 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Toronto Rock
Toronto, ON - The Georgia Swarm gutted out an 11-8 win over the Toronto Rock in game one of the two-game East Division Final on Saturday night at Air Canada Centre. The series will shift to Georgia next Saturday for game two, but if the Rock want to advance to the Champion's Cup final, they will have to win game two which will force a 10-minute tiebreaker game that the Rock also must win in order to capture the series against the Swarm.
"Our effort was there, it's more about our execution, we're going to have to look at some things and regroup and make some adjustments," said Head Coach Matt Sawyer when asked about his team's offensive production in game one. "They really pressured us and were picking us up high in the zone and we had trouble shaking that and were running for our lives a lot of times and when we did clear it there wasn't much time left on the shot clock. We'll make some adjustments and get ready for game two."
Rock goaltender Brandon Miller was nothing short of spectacular in the early going of Saturday's game. The veteran netminder who sparked each of the Rock's last two wins stopped all 14 shots he faced in the first quarter. Rock forward Dan Lintner scored the only goal of the first quarter 3:45 in and Toronto carried a 1-0 lead into the second frame.
Damon Edwards scored 14 seconds in after Bradley Kri won the faceoff and Jesse Gamble scooped up the ball. Stephan Leblanc increased the lead to three firing a shot over Swarm goaltender Mike Poulin's shoulder. Shayne Jackson cut the lead by one at 6:02 but Brett Hickey got that tally back for the Rock just 32 seconds later. Jordan Hall scored at 9:04 to cut the Rock lead to 4-2 at the half.
Georgia took over in the third, scoring four in a row from Joel White, Chad Tutton, Hall and Jackson for a 6-4 lead. Kasey Beirnes closed the gap by one with a power play marker at 14:09.
Toronto appeared to score a goal just 28 seconds into the fourth quarter that would have tied the game 6-6 and swung the momentum in the Rock's favour. After a lengthy video review, crew chief Chris Williams declared the video evidence was inconclusive and ruled that there was no goal on the play. Randy Staats increased the Swarm lead to 7-5 to start the fourth. Lintner got the Rock back within a goal, accepting a cross-crease pass from Jesse Gamble on a two-on-one at 3:46. The Swarm went on a three-goal run from Miles Thompson, Hall and White, who scored into an empty net for a 10-6 lead. Tom Schreiber and Beirnes scored consecutively with extra attackers on the floor to spark some momentum for the Rock, but Swarm captain Jordan MacIntosh scored another empty netter to seal the deal.
Miller earned the game's third star for his standout performance in goal, making 45 saves. "Brandon was real good for us tonight which is what we expected and what we're going to need," said Sawyer. "It would be nice to talk about that one in a winning performance but that was a great effort by him."
Next Saturday's game in Georgia will be streamed live around the world at 7 p.m. ET on Twitter and can be found at nll.twitter.com as well as on NLLTV.com.
Fans can lock in the same great seats for the entire post-season by purchasing the #ALLIN Playoff Pack. 2018 Season Tickets are also on sale now. Please visit torontorock.com/tickets or call 416-596-3075 to purchase or for more information.