DULUTH, GA (April 29, 2023) – The Halifax Thunderbirds (10-8) took care of business on Saturday night, defeating the Georgia Swarm (8-10) 17-11 to clinch the final playoff spot in the East Division at Gas South Arena.
Chris Boushy’s five-goal, 13-point performance made the difference on the night, with Randy Staats and Cody Jamieson pitching in seven points apiece.
Warren Hill had another massive performance in his ninth win of the season, as he turned away 39 Swarm shots to seal the victory.
The “Game of Runs” metaphor was definitely present in this game, as the two teams traded leads often throughout this game.
Georgia came out of the gates flying, putting three goals home in the opening seven minutes of the game. Bryan Cole got the opener and Brendan Bomberry netted a pair early.
It took Halifax nearly 12 minutes to get their first of the night, but it would be the first of four to end the first quarter. Clarke Petterson got the Birds on the board, and he’d be followed by Eric Fannell, Ryan Benesch, and Bo Bowhunter.
After opening the quarter down three, Halifax had a 4-3 advantage after one.
Lyle Thompson got his first of the night to start the second, but a three-goal run started by Petterson got Halifax to a three-goal advantage. Jamieson and Boushy had the other markers to make it 7-4.
But a double minor on Jake Withers gave Georgia a chance on the Power Play, and they got a pair back, getting them to 7-6 at halftime.
The Swarm made their run coming out of the half, scoring three of the first four goals of the third quarter. Boushy got Halifax rolling at the 13:48 mark. However, two goals in nine seconds from Zach Miller and TJ Comizio tied the game at eight. Jordan MacIntosh gave Georgia back the lead just minutes later.
David Brock had the tying goal, with the diving effort on the crease being his first of the year. Jamieson added on with a Power-Play goal, but Seth Oakes made it 10-10 heading into the final 15 minutes of the regular season.
The game would take a dramatic swing in favour of the Thunderbirds early in the fourth. A minute in, Petterson got his third of the night, and he was followed by Fannell and Boushy, who made it a trio of Halifax goals in 53 seconds.
Jackson got one back for the Swarm at the 11:53 mark, but that was the last time Georgia found the back of the net in the game. Boushy added his fourth and fifth goals of the evening before Staats and Petterson put the game away late.
In grabbing their 10th victory of the season, the Thunderbirds clinched the final playoff spot up for grabs in the NLL. Additionally, with Rochester’s loss to Philadelphia, the team has vaulted them for the third seed in the East.
The team will now travel to Hamilton for a first-round rematch with the Toronto Rock at FirstOntario Centre. Stay tuned to the team’s social channels for more information on a date and time for the East Division Semi-Final.