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Georgia Swarm Looks for Fifth-Straight Win as they Host Saskatchewan Rush

DULUTH, Ga. (April 7, 2023) – The Georgia Swarm look to extend its winning streak to five this weekend as they host the Saskatchewan Rush on Saturday, April 8 at 7:00 PM ET. After starting the season off 0-7, the Georgia Swarm have won six of the least seven games, currently on the hunt for a playoff spot.

This marks the 19th time the Georgia Swarm (6-8) and Saskatchewan Rush (6-8) have gone head-to-head against one another. The most iconic matchup between the two clubs is the 2017 NLL Championship. On June 11, 2017, Lyle Thompson fed his older brother Miles Thompson one-handed who then sunk the golden goal in overtime to claim the franchise’s first-ever NLL Champions Cup.

Five players from the 2017 Championship team suit up this season with Georgia in Bryan Cole, Shayne Jackson, Jordan MacIntosh, John Ranagan, and Lyle Thompson. Jeremy Thompson also played in the 2017 Champions Cup however, was a member of Saskatchewan that season.

After recording 15 points (6G, 9A) last weekend, Andrew Kew now ranks sixth in NLL points. Kew totals 12 power play goals and 16 power play assists, ranking first in power play goals in a single game (4) and first in power play points (28). Two spots behind Kew on the NLL points leaderboard is Lyle Thompson, recording 85 (37G, 48A). Lyle Thompson was shut down during the first affair last weekend but ended up totaling two goals and three assists in Halifax. Cole is coming off a hot weekend after posting five goals and one assists over New York and one goals and five assists in Halifax.

The Swarm continue to lead the league in power-play record, converting 35-of-60 (58 percent) man up opportunities. During the doubleheader weekend, Georgia was successful on 6-of-11 (54 percent) man up advantages. The Swarm backline killed 6-of-9 (66 percent) power plays last week, sitting fourth in the league, averaging a 57 percent kill ratio.

Throughout the last three games, Georgia’s defense held foes to less than 10 goals, averaging 11.64 goals against per game this season, ranking seventh in the league. Brett Dobson played a huge part in silencing opposing offenses as he posts a .78 save percentage, 409 saves, and a 10.75 goals against average. Dobson was named the NLL Rookie of the Week last week after posting two wins, 82 saves, and a .87 save percentage.

Top offensive threats the Swarm face this week are Saskatchewan’s Robert Church who ranks 10th in NLL points (81; 39G, 42A) and Mark Matthews (77; 21G, 56A), sitting in 13th. Matthews is a key component to the Rush power-plays, totaling 24 power-play points. Ryan Keenan is another go-to on offense as he notches 58 points (17G, 41A).

Defensively, the Rush holds foes to 11.50 goals per game, sitting sixth in the league. Kyle Rubisch and Mike Messenger lead the squad in caused turnovers, forcing 21 each this season. The backline is anchored by goaltender Alex Buque who tallies, 443 saves, a .77 save percentage, and an 11.00 goals against average.

After Saturday’s matchup, the Swarm have three more games before closing out the regular season. Georgia goes on a two-game away stretch paying a visit to Albany (April 15) and Rochester (April 22) before returning home.

The final home game of the season is April 29, marking Native Heritage Night. The Swarm will celebrate and honor Native culture by hosting Cherokee men’s and youth Stickball exhibition matches in Ball Ground, Ga. Following the Stickball exhibitions, there will be educational series hosted by Georgia’s Native players, Miss Cherokees, Warrior Dancers, and more prior to face off against the Halifax Thunderbirds.

History:

  • The Swarm and Rush have gone to head 18 times in NLL history with both teams posting a 9-9 record
  • Georgia is 5-5 against Saskatchewan at home
  • The last meeting between the two clubs was on Jan. 27, 2019, in Duluth, Ga. where the Swarm won, 13-10
  • Georgia is currently riding a two-game winning streak over Saskatchewan, last defeating them on Jan. 27, 2019 at home (13-10) and April 14, 2018, 16-10 on the road
  • The two teams have met three times in the post season with Georgia claiming the 2017 NLL Champions Cup on June 11, 2017, 15-14 in overtime
  • Jeremy Thompson is a former longtime veteran of the Rush franchise

Where to Watch:

  • Watch LIVE and in person Georgia host the Saskatchewan Rush for $15 a set on Saturday, April 8
  • ESPN+ | Use your ESPN+ subscription to watch the Swarm take on the Rush at 7:00 PM ET
  • TSN+ | If located in Canada, use your TSN subscription to watch the Georgia/Saskatchewan matchup

Milestones:

  • Ed Comeau needs two wins to pass Darris Kilgour for second on the all-time list with 122.
  • Andrew Kew needs nine points to reach 200 in his career.
  • Jeremy Thompson needs 10 loose ball recoveries to pass Mark Steenhuis for sixth on the all-time list with 1642.

Swarm Spotlight:

  • Georgia is currently on a four-game winning streak, dating back to March 18, 2023
  • The Swarm have won six of the last seven games
  • Georgia’s backline have held opponents to 10 goals or less for three-straight games
  • Georgia leads the league in power play record, converting 35-of-60 (58 percent) power plays
  • The Swarm have held opponents scoreless on 28-of-49 (57 percent) man up opportunities
  • Andrew Kew ranks sixth in NLL points, totaling 90 (38G, 52A) and first in power play points with 28 (12G, 16A)
  • Lyle Thompson ranks eighth in league points, recording 85 (37G, 48A)
  • Brett Dobson posts 409 saves, a .78 save percentage, a 10.75 goals against average and six wins
  • Among NLL defenders Adam Wiedemann ranks third in points (19) while sitting fourth in goals (6), and third in assists (13)
  • TJ Comizio ranks ninth in NLL defender points, collecting 12 (1G, 11A) while ranking seventh in NLL caused turnovers, forcing 25
  • Adam Wiedemann leads the team in blocked shots, totaling 13 as Kason Tarbell follows with 11
  • Jeremy Thompson tops the squad in loose balls, collecting 130 with Comizio (112), Jordan MacIntosh (97), Lyle Thompson (97), and Andrew Kew following (87), respectfully

Eyes on the Rush:

  • Saskatchewan averages 11.36 goals per game, ranking ninth while the backline holds foes to 11.50 goals per game, sitting sixth
  • Saskatchewan ranks 10th in power play record, sinking 30-of-66 (45 percent) man up advantages
  • The Rush’s backline stopped 33-of-59 (56 percent) power plays, sitting eighth in the league
  • Robert Church ranks 10th in NLL points, totaling 81 while sitting fourth in goals (39)
  • Mark Matthews ranks 13th in league points, recording 77 (21G, 56A), third in power play assists (18), and fourth in power play points (24)
  • Goaltender Alex Buque posts 445 saves, a .77 save percentage, an 11.00 goals against average, and six wins
  • Austin Madronic ranks seventh among NLL rookies in points, collecting 21 (10G, 11A)
  • Jerrett Smith sits ninth in league rookie points with 14 (3G, 11A) as well as seventh in defenseman points
  • Jake Bourdreau ranks 11th in rookie points, notching 10 (5G, 5A)
  • Holden grant sits 10th in NLL defender points, totaling 11 (3G, 8A) with Bobby Kid III, ranking 11th with 10 points (1G, 9A)
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