L to R: #83 Randy Staats and #32 Shayne Jackson. Photo Credit: Kyle Hess
(Duluth, GA) – Now tied for the best record in the league with the Saskatchewan Rush, the Georgia Swarm (7-3) returns to Harrah’s Cherokee Field at Infinite Energy Arena on Friday, March 17 for a St. Patrick’s Day showdown against the Calgary Roughnecks (4-7). Faceoff is set for 7:35 p.m. ET.
Road losses to Calgary and the New England Black Wolves have slowed down Georgia’s hot start as the Swarm now looks to get back on track with the first of three-straight home games this Friday. Two weeks ago, Calgary prevented Georgia from collecting its eighth win with an 18-11 home victory.
“They’ll be pretty pumped to come play us,” head coach Ed Comeau said, “especially after the trouncing they laid on us in Calgary. We know what’s at stake for both teams. I thought we played a lot better this weekend, so hopefully we can build upon that and get back to where we need to be able to compete and be successful in this league.”
Calgary lost to the Toronto Rock on the road the week afterwards, falling 16-10. Calgary continues its road-trip against the East Division and has struggled since starting the season 3-1.
After being held to only one point against New England, Lyle Thompson will look to bounce back and have similar or better results like what he had against Calgary. Lyle scored five points (2G, 3A) in Scotiabank Saddledome. In four home games, he has scored 34 of his 65 points.
Kiel Matisz recorded a hat trick that night and will look to post similar numbers. Johnny Powless has been on a bit of a tear in the four games he has played in after coming off the injured list. He already has 16 points (7G, 9A), including the game-winning overtime goal against Toronto.
The Swarm will have some added ammo come Friday night. Forward Miles Thompson was activated early this week from the injured list after missing last weekend’s contest in New England. The Swarm also announced the activation of Joel White from the Holdout List, and the fan favorite will make his 2017 debut this Friday. Last year with Georgia, White had a career-year, playing in all 18 games while scoring 16 points (6G, 10A) with 143 LB and 32 CTO.
Both sides of the Swarm’s roster will look to get back to 7-1 form. In the first eight games of 2017, Georgia scored 119 goals while only allowing 95. In the past two, the Swarm has only scored 19 and allowed the opponent to score 31. Georgia still has a +12 goal differential for the season, but it will need its veterans and enthusiastic rookies to perform like they did at the beginning of the year.
The Swarm will look for a way to shut down Calgary’s Dane Dobbie. Dobbie scored 11 points two weeks ago (7G, 4A). The Roughnecks will also send out Wesley Berg and Curtis Dickson. Both helped Dobbie best the Swarm, scoring six points (2G, 4A) and seven points (3G, 4A) respectively.
One other person Georgia will have to have a plan for is goalie Frank Scigliano. The five-year veteran held Georgia to only 11 goals in 59:09 min. His 33 saves on the night are proof of how well the Roughnecks defense kept Georgia away from the net.
“Calgary’s got a lot of weapons, and they’ve played together for a number of years,” Comeau said. “You can stop Dane Dobbie, and Curtis Dickson could go off for seven goals. They have so many weapons. I think the key is we have to play better overall team defense … Being a little more aggressive, but certainly playing better team defense in front of our goaltending will be our focus for this week.”
Georgia’s return to Harrah’s Cherokee Field at Infinite Energy Arena will see the team celebrating with a St. Patrick’s Day Party at The Hive where Green Beer will be available! Players will be wearing special St. Patrick’s Day-themed jerseys during the game which will be available to fans afterward via an online auction. Proceeds from jersey sales will go towards Bert’s Big Adventure. Early arriving fans can receive a special “Take A Seat” poster, and select Swarm players and mascot Stinger will be available post-game for autographs. Tickets are available by calling 844-4-GASWARM or by visiting GeorgiaSwarm.com/StPatricks.