Another bye weekend has passed, and with it falling to distant memory, the Georgia Swarm now gets to enjoy its second doubleheader weekend of the 2017-18 season. As full as the organization’s schedule is, taking on the Colorado Mammoth at home Friday and traveling to Toronto for the Rock, it’s kind of welcome. Georgia currently sits last in the East Division standings, and that’s why this weekend is so important. The Swarm is only…
1.5 Games out of first place
The Buffalo Bandits will have to lose to Colorado on Saturday for this to happen, but the key thing is how much ground Georgia can cover with two wins this weekend. Its record would improve to 6-5, and that’s a significant boost. Only 1.5 games separate the bottom of the East Division from the top of it. That’s crazy to think about, but it’s great for Georgia fans and great for NLL fans who love parity. The East is super tight and competitive, making every game that much more important. The second half of the NLL season is going to be so much fun and carry so much more weight just because of that alone.
But shifting back to the Swarm, two wins, big jump. To do that, it first has to start with a team that beat it 14-11 in December, then go north to play a team it downed in overtime in an insanely good game two weeks ago. But historically, the odds are on the Swarm’s side this weekend with…
The Mammoth’s record at The Hive and the Rock’s recent record against the Swarm
Both of these will involve the Swarm’s time since it moved to Georgia, and it’s rather telling. The Colorado sample size is smaller, though. The Mammoth have played twice on Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena since the Swarm’s move south, and the West Division team has lost both games by a significant margin. Colorado was downed 17-10 in 2016 and 21-13 in 2017, a goal differential of -15 for the Mammoth. Small sample size or not, the Mammoth will be looking to reverse a narrative right now.
Same for Toronto, but it’s history against Georgia is worse. Including the postseason, Georgia and Toronto have met seven times since Georgia’s inaugural 2016 season. Toronto has won one game. Through those seven games, Toronto has accumulated 78 goals and Georgia has 94 to its name, a -16 goal differential for the Rock. Three of those games have been decided by one goal. As thrilling as some of those games have been, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that the Rock are tired of not coming out on top. It doesn’t have a doubleheader, so Toronto will be rested when Georgia turns around after Friday’s game to visit Air Canada Centre. Toronto will also be watching Friday’s COLvsGA game, because how the Swarm does there has a good chance of determining…
The second game of the doubleheader
There have been a few doubleheader weekends in the NLL, and here are the results of those:
- ROC dropped both games, Jan 12-13
- VAN dropped both games, Jan 26-27
- SASK won both games, Feb 2-3
- BUF won both games, Feb 9-10
- GA lost both games, Feb 10-11
- ROC lost the first game but won the second one, Feb 10-11
So, the last Rochester doubleheader does not fit the pattern we’ve seen so far this season. Usually, how the team does in its first game is how it will do its second. While it isn’t definitive, that’s a double-edged sword right there for the Swarm to either fall on or use effectively.
To finish off this Hive Five, we’re going to take a look at the difference makers for Colorado and Toronto, one for each. For the Mammoth, that person has become…
Keogh is flashy and fun to watch. He’s only played in six Mammoth games this season and has 21 points (11G, 10A). But seven of his goals have come in two games, three against Saskatchewan on Feb. 2 and four against New England on Feb. 18. When he is clicking, Keogh does some damage. He’ll be really easy to recognize on the floor, too. After he scores, Keogh always dips down and scoops up a big glove-full of turf. You’ll know it immediately when you see it if he scores. The righty forward has been hot lately, but with Ryan Benesch, Jeremy Noble, Eli McLaughlin and Jacob Ruest rounding out the top scorers on the Mammoth O, you just can’t let up on the backend without taking an unwanted tusk.
Now we turn our attention to Toronto and look at its difference maker, namely…
No duh you go with the guy who leads the Rock in points and is tied for fourth on the NLL points leaderboard despite only having played nine games. The Rock acquired Jones from Saskatchewan in the offseason, and the results have been nothing short of astonishing. Jones had 57 points last season for Sask in 16 games. He already eclipsed that total by two, and there are still nine games to play. Before Tom Schreiber’s injury, Jones led the dangerous scoring trio of him, Schreiber and Hellyer. Against Georgia two weeks ago, Jones notched seven points (3G, 4A). He’s good. We saw it two weeks ago. Don’t be surprised if he makes an impact again.