Last weekend was busy for the Georgia Swarm, and while it didn’t go exactly as planned, how the Swarm handled the adversity it faced spoke volumes about the team. Georgia needs to take the skills displayed in its character 12-7 win against the Toronto Rock and bring those skills with it up to Rochester this Saturday, March 10. Georgia and the Rochester Knighthawks will meet for the third and final time this season, faceoff set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Make no mistake about it. Saturday is going to be a big game for both teams. This will be the final contest between the two, and both teams have won a game. A win on Saturday will determine who takes the season series, so if the Swarm and Knighthawks meet in the postseason, the winner of Saturday night’s game will afford its team home floor advantage.
Saturday will be huge. You can catch the game live on NLL.twitter.com with the game being the NLL Twitter game of the week, or you can watch it at NLLTV.com. Or if you want to watch it on a 30-foot screen, you’ll pop into Sports & Social at Live! at the Battery Atlanta to see the game and enjoy the entertainment found at the Battery Atlanta. But before then, let’s kick this Hive Five off by taking a look at both teams’…
Here are the top five points leaders for both teams:
Before someone asks, Dan Dawson does not count for this list since he was traded to Saskatchewan. Plus, Georgia didn’t play against him last time, so…
It might seem like the Knighthawks have an advantage on offense considering Joe Resetarits and Cody Jamieson are averaging at/over 5 PTs/GAME each. But there’s a 1.09 PTS/GAME difference between Jamieson’s average and Kyle Jackson’s. The Swarm, meanwhile, have three guys averaging over 4 PTS/GAME, and there isn’t a substantial drop off between any of them like what Rochester has.
Why are we looking at this? Pretty much to see that Rochester’s offense, which is producing at a 13.45 GF/GAME click, is very top-heavy. Georgia, producing an 11.91 GF/GAME, is more spread out on the offense. From this, we can see that shutting down Resetarits or Jamieson has a good chance of helping the Swarm’s chance at a win. Rochester will have to shut down more players to better its chances. And that’s supported by…
Recent History between the Teams
This will be the ninth time Georgia and Rochester have played each other in the past three seasons. Out of eight games, the Swarm has take five of them, outscoring the Knighthawks by +7. If that seems like its too close for five wins over eight games, well, you’re not wrong.
The reason why that goal differential isn’t bigger is because when Georgia loses to Rochester, it loses bad. In its one loss to the Knighthawks in 2016, Rochester held Georgia to only four goals. In 2017, Georgia lost by one to a last-second empty netter. This season, Rochester beat Georgia by seven goals. So in those three games, Georgia was outscored by 15 goals. The Swarm only broke into double digits once in those three loses, back in Feb. of this year.
How can Georgia fix this? The answer’s simple:
Improve Your Special Teams
There are no two ways around it. Georgia’s power play unit, after leading the league in 2017, is last in the NLL in efficiency at 32.6%. Rochester’s power play unit is operating at 59.5% efficiency. Flipping to the penalty kill, the Swarm’s killing 51.3% of all man-down situations, the Knighthawks leading the NLL at 55.3%.
Georgia has the potential on the backend to perform admirably man-down. In its last game against Toronto, the Swarm stopped all six of the Rock’s power play situations, including a 5-on-3 for 1:14 min. But the men in blue and yellow have to improve on its power play unit. Going against the best team in terms of penalty killing might be a tall order, but proving your team can still sting one of the best defensive special teams out there is a sign that things are trending in the right direction, especially when both teams are…
A Game Out of First Place
It’s weird seeing five teams all have the potential to make the NLL postseason. Weird, but cool for those that love parity. But for the two teams tied for last in the East Division, a win on Saturday makes that potential for the postseason that much easier.
Aside from the obvious whoever loses falls to 5-7 (.417), there is another in-division matchup on Saturday between the Toronto Rock (5-5) and New England Black Wolves (5-4).
Toronto winning on Saturday ties it for first place with the Buffalo Bandits (6-5), and the Black Wolves would fall to a tie for third with whoever wins the GAvsROC game.
New England winning lets it maintain its lead in the East Division and widen the gap between first and last to two games, and the Rock would drop to fourth with a win percentage of .456, sandwiched between the winner and loser of the GAvsROC game.
Ideally, both teams would lose. But this is the real world, so whoever drops the GAvsROC game needs New England to in turn drop its contest against the Rock, keeping the bottom of the East Divisions’ playoff hopes alive.
The race in the East Division gets tighter with each passing week, and the only thing that could make things more difficult would be trades happening before the March 19 trade deadline. Georgia isn’t likely to make any more significant roster moves after its…
Jordan Hall. Chad Tutton. Joel White.
No matter how you slice it, those three together significantly change the shape of a roster. Add what they bring to the locker room, too, and it’s almost like there’s a new Swarm team walking around. Their return doesn’t mean the team will always win; look at last Friday’s close home loss against Colorado. That being said, it does mean that the team plays differently with them around. Since Hall and Tutton returned, the Swarm is 2-1, handling the Rock twice. As for how they individually are doing:
- In three games back, Hall has seven points (4G, 3A), six LB and one CT. All of his assists have been primary assists. Hall has made 13 SOG, two SOFF and has a SPCT of 26.67%.
- In three games back, Tutton an assist, five LB and a CT. It’s hard to believe that less than a year ago, Tutton had to be helped off the floor after his in-game injury. Now he’s back out there playing typical, aggressive Tutton defense.
- In two games back, White has two assists, 14 LB and three CT. White is a vacuum when it comes to loose balls, and once that ball is in his stick, it’s borderline impossible to dislodge it from him.
It’s only been three games. There’s still a lot of season left. At the end of the day, Georgia is still tied for last in the East Division. But you honestly wouldn’t know it talking to this team. The Swarm atmosphere right now is one of a team knowing it can win against any opponent in the league if given the chance. And that calm confidence is one of the most important things a team needs to be successful.