A game that has been on their mind since Jan. 18, the Georgia Swarm (4-3) have been patiently waiting for their second game of the season against the New York Riptide (1-8). Their chance at redemption is finally here, as they welcome the expansion team to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena on Saturday, Feb. 15. Face-off is set for 7:00 p.m. ET.
Hosting College Night, fans can get their tickets at GeorgiaSwarm.com/CollegeNight or by calling 844-4-GASWARM. Fans in the Metro Atlanta area can also catch the game live on Atlanta’s CW69 or over the radio on Atlanta Sports X 1230AM/106.3FM.
The Swarm etched their names into the NLL history books as the first team to fall to the Riptide, losing 13-12 in overtime to the freshman club on Jan. 18.
“There was a lot of disappointment and a lot of people upset about the effort,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said about the team’s reaction following their third loss of the season. “We played pretty well for three quarters and really let the game get away in the fourth. Very disappointing, but we know in this league any team is capable of coming back, and that was the lesson we talked about coming out of that game, the importance of finishing games and playing for 60 minutes.”
The Swarm played two nail biters after that game, an 11-10 overtime win against the New England Black Wolves on Jan. 26 and a 12-11 win against the Philadelphia Wings on Jan. 31. With win percentages north of 70 percent before facing the Swarm, the two division foes losing at home gave the Swarm their confidence back heading into the bye week.
Leading the way for them in those games was Shayne Jackson. In his eighth NLL season, the veteran forward is having his best campaign yet and is cementing himself as a candidate for NLL MVP. He has a hat trick in every game this season and is currently fourth in the NLL in points with 44 (21G, 23A).
Goaltender Mike Poulin has outdueled two of the top netminders in the NLL in the Swarm’s last two games. His 4-3 record over 416:53 min. of action is accompanied by a 10.22 GAA and .785 SV%.
Since their first win, the Riptide have struggled to regain that magic and make their win column show a crooked number. They dropped three games, and their offense and defense are both last in the NLL.
Out the front door, the expansion team is led by Tyler Digby with 33 points (12G, 21A) and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NLL Entry Draft Tyson Gibson with 26 points (12G, 14A). Both Jean-Luc Chetner (10G, 15A) and Connor Kelly (11G, 14A) have 25 points, and Kelly – who did not play against the Swarm on Jan. 18 – is coming off a four-goal game last weekend.
Between the pipes has stood Alex Buque for 489:39 min. He has a 1-7 record, 13.60 GAA, and .745 SV%.
A month ago left an indelible mark on the Swarm’s season, and they took the lessons learned in that game personally and have shown the kind of team they know they can be in their two recent wins.
“For us, the last couple of games, we gave up some runs of two or three goals, but we were able to answer those,” Comeau noted. “That’s really what you have to do from a consistency point of view, is make sure when the other team is on a little bit of a run – which in most games, that happens – that we’re able to shut the door and come up with an answer to stop their run and create a little bit of momentum on our side.
“That’ll be something big, especially with New York being a young team. They really ride on emotion, and that’s a real critical thing for them, to really ride emotion and momentum. We really want to try and take that away and control that throughout the game, if we can.”
The Riptide will have confidence knowing they can compete with the Swarm, as history has shown, but the Swarm are determined to control Saturday’s game from the outset and show that historic loss is just that: history.