Swarm aim to close out road trip with consecutive wins
Final game of three-game, East Division road trip is a rematch against the Philadelphia Wings
January 29, 2020By: Ty Merrow
Riding high off a thrilling overtime win last Sunday, the Georgia Swarm (3-3) will close out their three-game tour of the homes of their East Division rivals with a visit to Wells Fargo Center against the Philadelphia Wings (5-2). With face-off on Friday, Jan. 31 set for 7:00 p.m. ET, the Swarm hope to finish January strong heading into a bye week.
Fans can catch Friday’s game live on B/R Live. Most Atlanta-area Taco Mac restaurants will also be airing the game live on Friday.
This is the second meeting of the 2019-20 NLL season between the Swarm and Wings. They last met in the Swarm’s Home Opener on Dec. 14, which was the Wings’ first game of the season. The Swarm earned their second win via a score of 12-6, improving to 2-0.
Since then, the Wings have gone on to be one of the top teams in the NLL, having won five of their last six games. Their defense has improved considerably compared to their inaugural season, improving from worst to first. Health and new goaltender Zach Higgins have been a big component to said improvement.
“That was something they really wanted to focus on in the offseason,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “They knew they had an NLL-caliber offense up front, and they were really focused on trying to take care of their defensive end. Zach’s been really good for them, and I think their defense has played really well … Defensively, they’re much improved from last year where they were basically in shootouts every night, and now they can rely on their defense to hold teams to single digits.”
Jordan Hall makes a shot against Zach Higgins on Dec. 14, 2019 | Photo Credit: Kyle Hess
While Higgins stands tall with his 8.38 GAA and .835 SV%, the offense deals damage using all seven of its forwards. Kevin Crowley leads the team in points with 37 (13G, 24A), and Brett Hickey has the most goals with 17 and is coming off of a five-goal game last Saturday.
The Swarm offense has been nothing to scoff at, particularly the reliable play of Shayne Jackson. In his eighth season in the NLL, the 29-year-old has a hat trick in every game. He leads the NLL in goals with 18 and is tied for the points lead with Crowley.
Aside from Jackson, the Swarm have Randy Staats with 33 points (6G, 27A); his 27 assists lead the NLL in that statistic. Lyle Thompson is next in points with 29 (15G, 14A), then Jordan Hall with 27 (6G, 23A).
Goaltender Mike Poulin earned his first win in over a month after his 9.39 GAA-game against the New England Black Wolves on Sunday, Jan. 26. His 3-3 season record is accompanied by a 10.09 GAA and .788 SV%.
Last weekend’s win was huge for the Swarm, as the team left Mohegan Sun Arena with the weight of three consecutive losses no longer weighing on them. Stringing together a pair of wins is their main focus now, and the Swarm are relishing the test ahead of them in one of the top teams in the NLL.
“It’ll be a good challenge for us,” Comeau said. “The first night we played (the Wings), that was their first game of the season; we had already played one, and they were still getting things organized. For us, it’ll be a good test. Divisional game, a team we’re chasing, so there are a lot of things at stake here.”
The Swarm’s next home game will be on Saturday, Feb. 15 against the New York Riptide. Face-off for College Night is set for 7:00 p.m. ET. Fans can get their tickets at GeorgiaSwarm.com/CollegeNight or by calling 844-4-GASWARM.
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