Another busy weekend is in store for the Georgia Swarm (4-5) as the team has two games on the docket. The Swarm welcomes the Colorado Mammoth (5-3) to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena on Friday, March 2. After that game, the team makes a quick trip to Canada to take on the Toronto Rock (5-4) on Saturday at Air Canada Centre.
The Swarm is hosting Ladies Night at The Hive presented by Atlanta Sports X 1230 & 106.3 FM and 680 The Fan on Friday. Georgia will host its inaugural Diamond Drop during halftime, where one lucky lady will win a three-quarter carat Forevermark Diamond Necklace valued at $7,500, courtesy of Tara Fine Jewelry Co. Tickets are available at GeorgiaSwarm.com/Diamond or by calling 844-4-GASWARM.
Faceoff for Friday’s game is set for 7:35 p.m. ET, and faceoff for Saturday’s game against the Rock is set for 7:00 p.m. ET. Fans can catch Saturday’s game LIVE via NLLTV.com.
Georgia is taking on both teams for the second time this season and can use two wins to catapult up the tight East Division standings. All three teams had bye weekends last week, with Toronto the only one to have just one game this weekend.
On Dec. 23, the Swarm visited the Mammoth’s barn and left with a 14-11 loss. Both teams got off to slow starts at the beginning of the game, but Colorado used a seven-goal fourth quarter to come back and bury Georgia.
Ryan Benesch led the way in scoring with six points (3G, 3A) for the Mammoth. Goaltender Dillon Ward earned the win that day after making 37 saves on 48 SOG, finishing with a .771 SV%.
Lyle Thompson led the Swarm in points with seven (2G, 5A), and assistant captain Shayne Jackson recorded a hat trick and two assists. Poulin was handed his second loss after making 42 saves on 55 SOG, posting a 13 GAA and a .764 SV%.
“In Colorado, they went on a good run, and we just couldn’t regroup,” Jackson said. “We got too low, down on ourselves, and we couldn’t regroup and come back for that win. I thought last week was a step in the right direction. No matter what happens in a game, we just play our game and play at the speed we want to play, and we should be fine.”
Things have changed a bit since then. Colorado still sits near the top of its division, and Georgia is last in the East, but it is still a game and a half from first place in the division. Before the bye week, Colorado snapped a two-game skid with a strong 19-11 win against the New England Black Wolves.
That same weekend, Georgia won a thrilling 14-13 OT contest against the Rock. Georgia received reinforcements with the addition of forward Jordan Hall and transition player Chad Tutton. After being down 5-0 to start the game off, the Swarm clawed its way back up to force overtime and win the game off a Jackson goal.
“We played more of a complete game than we have all year, which is really good to see,” Swarm transition player Bryan Cole said. “We’ve got a couple of younger guys, myself included, that are trying to push the pace and trying to correct some errors week by week. Our offense is starting to click right now, and our defense is starting to figure it out on the backend. Hopefully we can continue to roll.”
Adam Jones (3G, 4A) and Rob Hellyer (2G, 5A) led the Rock in points with seven apiece. Goaltender Nick Rose earned the loss after allowing 14 GA in 63:55 min., finishing with a 13.14 GAA and a .725 SV%.
Jackson netted the game-winning goal, but it was Jesse King who led the Swarm in points with six (3G, 3A). Poulin spent the entire time in front of the net, making 45 saves on 58 SOG. The netminder had a 12.20 GAA and a .776 SV%.
The Rock has dropped six of its last seven meetings with Georgia, including the 2017 postseason. Besides trying to stay at the top of the standings, Toronto will be looking to reverse its recent record against the Swarm.
The busy weekend ahead is demanding, but all teams have similar busy weekends at some point during the season. The Swarm will handle the quick turnaround and ferocious opponents as best it can to try and leap up the standings.
“The travel part makes it a little more difficult, rather than having back-to-back two homes, but everyone has to do it in the league,” Cole said. “There’s really no excuses. You’ve got to just man-up and get the job done. I think it shows a lot of character for teams that can come and compete for 120 min. back-to-back nights.”