GAME PREVIEW: Swarm returns home this Sunday to face New England
January 13, 2016
Photo Credit: Paul Sasso, MV Photo Concepts
Photo Credit: Paul Sasso, MV Photo Concepts
(Duluth, Ga.) – Fresh off a 12-7 home opener victory against the Toronto Rock which marked Georgia’s first win in team history, the Swarm (1-1) now prepare to welcome the New England Black Wolves (1-0) for a Sunday matinee matchup at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field inside Infinite Energy Arena. Face-off is set for 2:05 p.m. ET.
Over 9,000 fans attended the Swarm’s inaugural home opener last Saturday night, which was the first NLL game in state history. Lower level tickets for Sunday can be purchased by calling 844-4-GASWARM or online at GeorgiaSwarm.com.
“I think all of us are still kind of pinching ourselves over how great it was,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said about Saturday’s fans. “The crowd was excellent, they seemed very into it. They knew when to cheer and when not to cheer and brought a lot of energy to the team.”
FOX Sports Southeast will re-air this weekend’s game at 11 p.m. ET Sunday evening, with Mark Zinno on the play-by-play and Brad Scibak providing the color commentary. The game will also be streamed live online via FOX Sports GO and TSN GO.
Despite only being two games into his professional career, rookie forward Randy Staats leads all Swarm players with 13 points (6G, 7A), and ranks third in the National Lacrosse League in the same category. The Syracuse product has posted hat tricks in each of the first two games this season, including several highlight-reel worthy goals.
“I think Randy is a benefactor of playing in an offense where everyone’s happy to share the ball and the ball is moving and nobody cares whose scoring or shooting as long as we’re successful,” Comeau said. “They can just go out and play and not have the pressure of carrying the team.”
Forwards Johnny Powless (6G, 5A) and Kiel Matisz (2G, 9A) will look to replicate their successes from Saturday, after Powless’ four-goal performance and Matisz's six-assist night.
As potent as Georgia’s offense was on Saturday, the defense stole the show as the Swarm will again look to its goaltending to slow a New England attack that struck for 17 goals in its season opener. Swarm goalie Brodie MacDonald held the Rock scoreless for over 40 minutes, and allowed just one second-half goal, stopping 35 of the 42 shots he faced, including a perfect nine-save third quarter.
“Anytime you can string together nearly 40 minutes without allowing a goal, it really gives your team a chance to win the game,” Comeau said on MacDonald’s stellar Saturday.
New England, who finished at the bottom of the East Division last season, defeated the Vancouver Stealth this past Saturday 17-7, thanks in part to four-goal performances from Pat Saunders and 2015 league MVP Shawn Evans. Black Wolves goalie Evan Kirk stopped 49-of-56 shots he faced, and notched 17 saves in the second quarter alone.
Coach Comeau likened the Black Wolves to the Swarm, saying “New England’s roster has had some turnover, just like ours has, with lots of new bodies.” The Swarm’s bench boss also knows the danger of Evans, “Shawn Evans… makes the other guys around him better and makes them a threat. We’ll have our hands full with them.”
All Swarm home games at Infinite Energy Arena feature FREE parking. Fans interested in purchasing Swarm Season Tickets can call 844-4-GASWARM or visit GeorgiaSwarm.com for more information. Visit GeorgiaSwarm.com/Games to view the Swarm’s full 18-game schedule.
New England Black Wolves (1-0) at Georgia Swarm (1-1)
Sunday, Jan. 17 at 2:05 p.m. ET
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field
Infinite Energy Arena, Duluth, Ga.
TV: FOX Sports Southeast (Re-Air – Sunday, Jan. 17 at 11 p.m.)
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