#24 Jordan MacIntosh (Photo Credit: Michael Martin)
(Duluth, GA) – A difficult home loss has the Georgia Swarm (8-4) ready to close out its three-game homestand with a win, but it now faces one of the hottest teams in the NLL, the Colorado Mammoth (8-6) this Saturday, April 1 at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena. Faceoff is set for 7:05 p.m.
Georgia will celebrate Military Appreciation Night, which honors current and past military service members, next Saturday. For every ticket purchased, the Swarm will be making an equal ticket donation to our local heroes. Tickets are available by calling 844-4-GASWARM or by visiting GeorgiaSwarm.com/MilitaryNight.
The Swarm visited the Mammoth at the Pepsi Center on Feb. 4 and was handed its first loss by the home team, 14-10. With the Toronto Rock (8-5) now a half game back for first in the East Division, Georgia needs a revenge win against Colorado to remain on top before going on the road, but true to form, the Swarm is concentrating on the now.
“That was a long time ago, and a lot has happened since then,” head coach Ed Comeau said. “We’re focusing on what we need to do to get better and obviously focusing on a really good team that’s coming in and playing really well. Last two weeks, it’s two been two really good teams, so we know they’re looking to keep their streak going, and we need to rebound from last week’s tough loss.”
Georgia will look to surpass the Mammoth with its No. 1 offense. Randy Staats has scored 10 points (6G, 4A) in his two games back from the Injured List. Team captain Jordan MacIntosh recorded three points (1G, 2A) against Toronto, collecting 14 loose balls, causing two turnovers, and going 15-for-23 on faceoff opportunities.
Johnny Powless, with his 27 points (11G, 16A) in six games, has been steadily creeping up Georgia’s scoring leaderboard. Miles Thompson has recorded six goals the past two games. Joel White, in only his second game this season, scored his first goal of 2017 and has collected 25 loose balls so far.
Goaltender Mike Poulin was fantastic against Toronto. Even though he was handed the loss in overtime, Poulin faced a shot a minute and made 31 saves in the second half. His past two weeks of stellar goaltending – allowing only 20 goals and making 81 saves – have lowered his GAA to 11.85.
Colorado recently bested the West Division leading Saskatchewan Rush (8-4) on Saturday, March 25, and now finds itself half a game behind Saskatchewan. The team will be riding high as it visits The Hive.
Callum Crawford and Eli McLaughlin lead the Mammoth offense with 78 points (28G, 50A) and 54 points (23G, 31A) respectively. After spending significant time on the injured list earlier this season, Jeremy Noble – Georgia assistant captain Jason Noble’s twin – is back in form, proven with his seven points (4G, 3A) against Saskatchewan last Saturday.
Colorado will stand Dillon Ward between the pipes. One of the top goalies in the NLL, Ward has played in 695:05 min. this season with an 8-3 record. He has a 10.44 GAA, an .804 SV%, and is second in the league with 496 saves.
The Mammoth also recently acquired 2016 NLL Transition Player of the Year Brad Self at the trade deadline on Monday, March 27. Self is having a career year, having already set new personal highs with 13 goals and 23 assists this year.
“We’re always looking to make our team better, and getting guys back – getting Joel back and getting back Miles and Randy from injuries, that certainly is a big boost for us,” Comeau said. “… (The players) know at this stage of the season that every game is critical, and the focus and attention to detail has to be elevated more so than it was earlier in the year. We’re challenging our guys to make sure they’re being prepared and really understand what their roles are moving forward the last third of the season.”
The conclusion of Georgia’s three-game homestand at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena is set for Saturday, April 1, faceoff at 7:05 p.m. With so much on the line for both teams, expect to see another great NLL game this Saturday.