PREVIEW: Swarm looking to clinch playoff spot Friday night
April 7, 2017
#24 Jordan MacIntosh (Photo Credit: New England Black Wolves)
(Duluth, GA) – One win away from being the first NLL teams to reach 10 wins in 2017, the Georgia Swarm (9-4) travels north to visit the New England Black Wolves (7-7) at Mohegan Sun Arena on Friday, April 7. Faceoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Georgia can clinch a playoff berth with a win at New England.
Last weekend was huge for both teams in terms of playoff implications. After being handed losses the week before, the two moved deeper into the win column with victories over the No. 2 teams in both Divisions – Georgia besting the Colorado Mammoth 21-13 and New England defeating the Toronto Rock 15-14.
In three games against New England this season, Georgia has taken two of the them, both at home. The last time these two rivals clashed was March 12 where New England came out on top 13-8 at home, handing Georgia its third loss of the season.
Georgia is coming off a game where it tied a franchise record with its 21 goals. Five different Swarm players scored nine points or more, and the team raised its league-leading goals per game average from 13.8 to 14.4.
“One of the players said after (Saturday’s win against Colorado) we had a good game plan and we executed it,” head coach Ed Comeau said. “It’s just like our offense always is. It doesn’t matter who scores or has the ball. We play with a lot of speed, and we played physical on the offensive zone. I think that was the message, and we really did that. We ran hard through the middle and created opportunities by moving our feet and the ball.”
Lyle Thompson went off and scored a career-high 11 points (4G, 7A), getting the hat trick in the third quarter in a little over three minutes. Miles Thompson finished with six points (2G, 4A) including a jaw-dropping beaut in the third quarter.
Jordan Hall (2G, 7A), assistant captain Shayne Jackson (5G, 4A), Kiel Matisz (4G, 5A), Randy Staats (3G, 6A), and Jerome Thompson (1G, 3A) all combined to best Colorado Saturday night.
New England got back to .500 Sunday afternoon at home. The team’s scoring was spread out amongst eight different players. Goaltender Evan Kirk took 70 shots on goal and made 56 saves, good for a .800 SV%.
The Black Wolves are once again led by 2013 & 2015 NLL MVP Shawn Evans and his 81 points (31G, 50A). Forwards Kevin Crowley (33G, 33A), Kevin Buchanan (18G, 38A), and Kyle Buchanan (24G, 29A) round out New England’s leading scorers. When New England faced Georgia last time, Evans, Crowley, and Ky. Buchanan combined for 20 points (9G, 11A).
“They scored 15 goals Sunday (against the Toronto Rock),” Comeau said. “Their offense has been real good, lots of weapons … That’s something that should be a concern for us and our defense, to make sure we do a good job of trying to defend them. I think the other aspect is our goaltending. Evan Kirk played really good D last time out there, and I think it’s really important that we take advantage of our chances. We have to shoot real smart and effectively on Kirk.”
Broadcast Info: Fans can catch the game LIVE via NLLTV.com.
Georgia has two remaining home games this season. The team returns to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena to welcome the Buffalo Bandits on Saturday, April 15. Faceoff is set for 7:05 p.m. ET. The first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a free hot dog. Georgia’s final regular season home game will be against the Rochester Knighthawks on Saturday, April 29. Faceoff is set for 7:05 p.m. ET. All Swarm players and coaches will be available on the field post-game for autographs and photos.
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