In a 2017 title series sweep, the Georgia Swarm for the first time in franchise history won the National Lacrosse League Champion's Cup. In a nail-biting, sudden-death overtime, Lyle Thompson, a National Lacrosse League (NLL) MVP candidate, fed a pass to Miles Thompson, who nailed his shot past the Rush goalie, earning the Champion’s Cup for Atlanta.
The cup was won on June 10th and since that time, social media has exploded in support of the Georgia Swarm. In addition, the Georgia Swarm Pro Lacrosse team was a welcomed guest of Governor Nathan Deal Tuesday morning June 20th at the Georgia State Capitol building to celebrate the Swarm’s recent NLL Champion’s Cup victory. While the team was at the Capitol, Governor Deal proclaimed June 10th, “Georgia Swarm Day.”
While only in its second season, the Georgia franchise quickly became the top-ranked team in the NLL. In the best-of-three title series, the Swarm headed into the second and final game, with an 18-14 victory from the series opener at their Harrah's Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena home field on June 4, 2017.
In the championship game, held at SaskTel Centre. Randy Staats (Mohawk) scored the first goal. Within the first three minutes, the Swarm was up 3-0. The Rush fought back by earning three goals but the first quarter ended with the Swarm ahead 5-3.
The teams intensified the contest with fierce action in the second quarter but the Rush still could not get a lead with a score of 7-6 at halftime. Miles Thompson (Onondaga), Johnny Powless (Mohawk), and Jordan Hall kept up the Swarm's lead 10-8 going into the final quarter.
The Rush started off with an offensive blitz to earn four goals within minutes and gain their first lead of the night. The Swarm was down by 2 for the first time in the game. Georgia rallied with a three-goal run by Lyle Thompson who maneuvered past a Rush defense wall to get the lead back 13-12.
Saskatchewan's Jeremy Thompson (Onondaga) put one in the net, tying the game. The Rush pulled ahead even one more time giving the Rush fans hope of an imminent win which would send the teams back to Atlanta for a tie-breaking Game 3.
The Georgia Swarm then stunned the 14.2k Rush fans by scoring an surprise tying goal with only three seconds left in regulation advancing the game to a sudden death overtime.
Jeremy Thompson secured the sudden death face off, but the Rush was unable to get past the Swarm's defense. With the Swarm now in possession, Lyle Thompson shouldered two defenders and gave a one-armed underhanded pass to brother Miles Thompson.
Miles Thompson scored the prizewinning goal in sudden death overtime winning the Championship Cup for the Georgia Swarm.
The Georgia Swarm players exploded onto the field, piling onto Miles Thompson to celebrate the hard fought win. Lyle Thompson was named 2017 Champion's Cup Series MVP.
The two-time defender Saskatchewan Rush fell to the Swarm 15-14 dashing their hopes of a three-peat.
Randy Staats who scored the first goals of each Championship game shared some thoughts with ICMN about getting to the sudden death match, "How we got to overtime was crazy! We worked really hard at the end and got a fortunate bounce that went our way. I just thought that we would hopefully put it away and we did."
Focused on earning a Championship victory, Staat says that the Swarm’s "overall goal was to take it one minute at a time. Our coach always says we're not worried about the entire game, we're worried about the first minute and taking it one minute at a time. I think we did a good job of that and it worked out for us."
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