Vancouver, B.C. – Lacrosse royalty will be at Rogers Arena Saturday night to take on the Vancouver Warriors.
The Thompson brothers – Jeremy and Lyle – will lead the charge for the Georgia Swarm. This is the first time the Warriors will take on the Swarm since 2020 with the new competition format in the NLL. Miles Thompson, who’s been battling injury, will be out for the game on Saturday.
Not since Paul and Gary Gait, have brothers been so dominant and the Thompsons have been synonymous with lacrosse, with the game running deep through their lineage back to their grandparents. Jeremy, 36, Miles, 33, and Lyle, 31, are from Onondaga Nation, just south of Syracuse in central New York, and through the sport they have been able to honor and bring awareness to their culture.
Warriors’ head coach Curt Malawsky says the trio are phenomenal players and their presence in the NLL is important to the game.
“Their contribution is unquantifiable. They are great pros off the floor and on the floor,” Malawsky said. “They play hard, they play clean, they play the game the right way and they’re great ambassadors for our sport.”
Lyle and Miles are creative scorers, while Jeremy has consistently been one of the strongest faceoff players in the league.
Right-handed forwards Lyle and Miles were co-recipients of the Tewaaraton Award in 2014 and are both in their 7th year with the Swarm. They were instrumental in Georgia’s 2017 Champion’s Cup run; Miles scored the game-winning goal in overtime, Lyle assisted on the goal, and took home MVP honors for the tournament.
Lyle won the Mann Cup with the Six Nations Chiefs this past September in a best-of-seven series against the New Westminster Salmonbellies.
With any pure scorer, it is impossible to nullify them offensively, and Malawsky says the Warriors will have to restrict Lyle’s scoring opportunities.
“He is going to get his points and factor into a lot of goals, whether it is scoring or assists, but you just try to limit his contributions and play defense by committee on him. One guy is not going to stop him, we just need to make sure we know where he is always and try to take away his options.”
Jeremy boasts a regular-season career faceoff percentage of 52.5%, winning 51.7% of his faceoffs last season with the Swarm.
In their first game of the season this past Saturday, Lyle had eight points (4g-4a) against Colorado and picked up four loose balls in the win and Jeremy scored a goal and picked up a game-high 10 loose balls.
The Swarm will be a tough test, but the Warriors are up for the challenge.
Veteran defensemen Ryan Dilks and Matt Beers highlight a tough defender group that only allowed 41 shots against Panther City.
Malawsky was happy with the defence in that game, but said the Warriors need to be better on the offensive side of the floor and be mindful of their situational play – making sure they do not give up goals in the first and last minutes of the quarters and eliminate the Swarm’s scoring runs and goals from faceoffs.
“I think we need to play with a purpose, and I think we need to play with urgency,” Malawsky said. “We need to have situational pushback and be better in those areas and understanding that the tipping point in the game doesn’t necessarily need to be in the later part of the fourth quarter.”
Defender Reid Bowering and forward Adam Charalambides each had two goals in their first week of action against Panther City. Lefty forward Ryan Martel paced the Warriors in points with three (1-2-3), while Marcus Klarich scored the first goal of his NLL career and veteran forward Riley Loewen scored for Vancouver.
Keegan Bal averaged 5.12 points per game last season and can be deadly when he gets going. He led the Warriors in points last season with 87 (34-53-87) through 17 games.
The Warriors have been using their bye week to watch film, train, and get some shots in. Making sure they are playing freely and moving the ball more is what Malawsky is looking for on Saturday.
“The guys have been holding each other accountable when it comes to fitness, we’ll have our practice in the rink on Friday night and Rob [Williams] sent out defensive video already this week so I know the guys are studying that,” remarked Malawsky.
The two teams face off on Saturday, December 16th at Rogers Arena at 7 p.m.