Blaze Riorden needed just 15 seconds to become the hero Saturday afternoon as he tallied early in overtime to give the Wings a 12-11 win over the Georgia Swarm at Wells Fargo Center. The victory elevated the Wings to a 3-1 record and kept them perfect on their home turf this season.
The game was a defensive battle through the first 30 minutes, with just four goals scored – the Wings tallied twice in the first quarter, with Ben McIntosh and Matt Rambo fueling the 2-0 lead, only to see Georgia respond with goals from Lyle Thompson and Shayne Jackson in the second frame to tie the score at halftime.
The Wings surged ahead with three of the third quarter’s first four goals, coming from McIntosh, Kevin Crowley, Riorden and Rambo, which gave them a 6-3 lead. Georgia pulled even by the quarter break though, getting tallies from Thompson, Connor Kirst and Jordan McIntosh to draw even at 6-6.
The fourth quarter was a tug-of-war – the teams exchanged the first four goals, and after the Wings scored two in a row midway through the period, Georgia responded with two of their own. McIntosh bagged his fourth of the game at the 12:20 mark, giving the Wings the 11-10 advantage.
That set the stage for a dramatic tying goal from Georgia’s Brendan Bomberry, who tucked one off the post and in with 1.6 seconds remaining on the clock. That in turn set up Riorden’s winner, which came after Trevor Baptiste won his 20th faceoff of the game to give the Wings their final possession.
Rambo led the way with a six-point game (3G, 3A) while Crowley had four assists to go along with his goal for a five-point night. McIntosh’s four goals led the club in that category, while newly-signed goaltender Eric Penney made 50 saves to earn his first win with the club and first in the NLL since February 2020. The Wings played without five players due to COVID protocol, including goaltender Zach Higgins, forward Cory Vitarelli, and defensemen Ian Llord, Steph Charbonneau and Ryan Wagner.
Thompson had an eight-point game for Georgia (5G, 3A) while former Wing Jordan Hall contributed a goal and five assists for six points. Mike Poulin made 39 saves in absorbing the loss.
The Wings are back at home next Saturday against the Albany Firewolves at 12:00 at Wells Fargo Center.