The Georgia Swarm (12-5) are ready to cap off the 2018-19 regular season with their final regular season game against the Philadelphia Wings (3-14) on Saturday, April 20 at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena. Faceoff is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.
The Swarm will be hosting Fan Appreciation Night presented by Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC. Early arriving fans can receive a Swarm Team Poster courtesy of Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC and can get autographs from Swarm players on the floor postgame. Tickets are available by calling 844-4-GASWARM or by visiting GeorgiaSwarm.com/Fan.
The Swarm partnered with 680 The Fan to host their first-ever Tailgate Party prior to the game. From 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET, fans over the age of 21 can enjoy free food and drinks, giveaways, games and live music. The tailgate will take place in the parking lot of the 6340 Sugarloaf Building, right next to the Holiday Inn and Tin Lizzy’s. For more information, visit GeorgiaSwarm.com/Tailgate.
The Swarm saw their five-game win streak snapped last Friday with a 14-13 loss to the Calgary Roughnecks. Randy Staats did not play in the game, and an early exit for Mike Poulin saw Kevin Orleman replace him between the pipes and perform admirably. Ultimately, the Swarm were unable to hold onto the lead in the back-and-forth affair.
“We had done such a good job of playing complete and full games in the last number of games we played, and that was a game we didn’t,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “I think that’s a good lesson for us, that you can’t try to play part of a game or you can’t take time off during the game.”
Despite the loss, the Swam are still one of the top two teams in the NLL. To keep their chances at securing the No. 1 overall seed alive, they will need to best the Wings this Saturday. Saturday’s game will mark the second time the Swarm and Wings have faced each other since the Wings returned as an expansion team for the 2018-19 NLL season. They met in Wells Fargo Center on Jan. 12, with the Swarm emerging with the 13-11 road win.
The division rivals’ trajectories have gone in different directions after that January game. The Swarm became one of the two best teams in the NLL while the Wings have struggled in their first season. Despite the Wings elimination from the postseason, the Swarm expect them to come to Sting City trying to play spoiler in their last game of the season.
“We consider this a playoff game, and hopefully we’ll have everyone playing and everyone working on getting better as a group and getting better as individuals,” Comeau said. “That’s out focus. (The Wings) gave us a tough time in Philly, and they certainly want to end on a high note. Any team who’s not in the playoffs wants to try and win their last game … They’re going to be looking to get a good start and be ready to go and take it to us on Saturday night.”
The Wings will try and best either Poulin or Orleman between the pipes for the Swarm. Poulin has a 10.94 GAA and a .791 SV% over 899:32 min. of action. Orleman has spent 120:26 min. in front of the net this season and has posted a 12.46 GAA and a .755 SV%. Last Friday against the Roughnecks, he held the home team to just five goals for, finishing the night with a 9.19 GAA and a .839 SV%.
Lyle Thompson will lead the Swarm offense. In his fourth season in the NLL, Lyle has reached the 100-point plateau for the second time in his career with his 42 goals and 58 assists. Holden Cattoni and Shayne Jackson have been big contributors for the Swarm’s offense in 2018-19. Cattoni has 77 points (26G, 51A) – which surpasses the career-high 76 he established last season – and Jackson has 76 points (30G, 46A).
For the Wings, team captain and former Swarm player Kiel Matisz (24G, 53A) and Kevin Crowley (33G, 44A) are leading the offense, both with 77 points. Rookie Matt Rambo has adjusted to the indoor game well and is coming off a stellar doubleheader weekend where he recorded 14 points (7G, 7A).
“I see a guy who can shoot the lights out; he’s got a great shot, powerful underneath,” Comeau said about Rambo. “Much like a lot of guys who come from the field game, it takes some time to figure it out, and he’s clearly figuring it out and is becoming a real feature on their offense, a guy you have to pay a lot of attention to, or he’s going to put up big numbers on you.”
Between the pipes, rookie Doug Buchan has gotten the most playing time for the Wings. Over 810:46 min., Buchan has a 13.17 GAA and a .749 SV%.
With their fourth-straight trip to the postseason on the horizon, the Swarm are enjoying the successes on and off the floor with their record and increase in attendance, with four-straight home games with over 7,500 fans in attendance and the average home crowd size increasing 45% compared to last season.
“It’s been exciting,” Comeau reflected about the season to this point. “The team has grown, and we’ve started to play better. The crowds have been really good, and it’s been great, bigger crowds and louder building. Our success at home has been good. We’re 7-1 at home, and it’s been great for us, and we want to continue that, especially knowing we have at least one playoff game at home. We really want to create that energy and atmosphere in our building.”
Friday’s game will be broadcast on the B/R Live app available through iTunes, Google Play, Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire. Fans can also listen to the game on Atlanta Sports X 1230 AM/106.3 FM.
The Swarm will host the East Division Semifinals at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena on Monday, May 6. Faceoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET. Tickets are on sale now at GeorgiaSwarm.com/Playoffs. Ticket packages include two-game and four-game playoff packs and are available by calling 844-4-GASWARM.