Swarm expect defensive battle with Colorado Mammoth to close out 2019
Swarm can improve to 3-0 for a consecutive season with a win Saturday night
December 26, 2019By: Ty Merrow
After two dominant wins to open the season, the Georgia Swarm (2-0) return to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena on Saturday, Dec. 28 to take on the Colorado Mammoth (1-1) for their only meeting this season. Face-off is set for 7:00 p.m. ET.
The Swarm are celebrating Family Night, getting into the holiday spirit with an evening full of special offers, entertainment, and a celebration of this special time of year. Tickets are available by visiting GeorgiaSwarm.com/FamilyNight 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 the Atlanta Sports X 1230AM/106.3FM.
The Mammoth are coming off of a dramatic road overtime win against the Calgary Roughnecks last Saturday, showcasing their typical strong defense led by goaltender Dillon Ward. The Swarm, however, are on a historical defensive tear of their own, as netminder Mike Poulinand the Swarm defense are averaging 5.0 GA/GAME. As such, the Swarm are going into Saturday night expecting a goaltending battle.
“They have good defense, good goaltending; we’ve got good defense, good goaltending, so it really could. Both goalies are capable of putting up single digit nights,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “…It’s really important that you take advantage of your opportunities, your special teams, take advantage of transition opportunities, because 5-on-5 goals are hard to come by in a goaltending battle.”
Poulin is enjoying the best start to his 15 years in the NLL, posting a league-best 4.33 GAA and .911 SV%. Despite a 1-1 record, Ward held the Saskatchewan Rush and defending world champion Calgary Roughnecks both to single digits.
Crepinsek and Poulin scrap with Lee for the loose ball | Photo Credit: Jack Dempsey
The key differentiator between the two clubs will be the offense and special teams.
The Swarm boast one of the top offenses in the NLL with a 13.00 GF/GAME, while the Mammoth sit near the bottom with an 8.00 GF/GAME.
On the power play, the Swarm are cashing in on 66.7% of all man-advantage situations, the best in the NLL. The Mammoth are a close second at 60.0%. The Swarm’s penalty kill fares better, stuffing 83.3% of opposing power plays. Colorado has not had the same luck, having stopped 54.6% of penalty situations.
Lyle Thompsonhas enjoyed a productive and consistent two games, posting seven points (4G, 3A) in both games. He is tied for the lead in the NLL in points with 14 and leads the league in goals with eight.
For the Mammoth, their offense is led by Jacob Ruest with seven points (5G, 2A). Ryan Lee has six points (2G, 4A), and a trio of Mammoth forwards have five points.
The Swarm are 2-5 against the Mammoth over the last four seasons, but they have fared much better against the West Division team at Sting City, where they’ve earned their two wins. Both clubs have historically played each other close, and the Swarm’s +4 goal differential over the Mammoth is in large part due to the Swarm’s 21-13 win back in April 2017.
Recent performances are the better indicator of what to expect Saturday night, and with both Poulin and Ward making early cases for NLL Goaltender of the Year, the spotlight will shine on the netminders.
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