Currently the only undefeated NLL team, the Georgia Swarm (3-0) are seeking their best start since their 2017 NLL World Championship season. To earn their fourth win of the season, the Swarm will have to win this Saturday, Jan. 12 against the Philadelphia Wings (0-3) in Wells Fargo Center. Faceoff is set for 7:00 p.m. ET.
Fans can catch the game on the B/R Live app available through iTunes, Google Play, Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire.
It was not easy for the Swarm to win their third game of the season against the Vancouver Warriors last Saturday. The Swarm used a strong defensive fourth quarter to hold the Warriors in place while the Swarm scored three goals to win 10-8.
“We’re going to continue to work hard, and as I said to a number of people, we’ve got roughly two to three guys on any given night that weren’t in our offense last year on our offense this year,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “There are going to be some times where we have a little bit of a learning curve with those guys just figuring stuff out, and they’re figuring each other out. That’s going to take some time, but as long as we continue to follow our principles and keep doing the right thing, I think we’ll be in good shape.”
While Lyle Thompson led the Swarm in points last Saturday with four (2G, 2A), rookie Brendan Bomberry stole the show with his first career NLL goal and hat trick. The No. 7 overall pick in the 2018 NLL Entry Draft gave the Swarm the lead with two of his goals, including the game-winner.
Through their three games, the Swarm are led by Lyle with 16 points (8G, 8A), Randy Staats with 14 points (3G, 11A), and Holden Cattoni with 13 points (4G, 9A). Netminder Mike Poulin has played every minute between the pipes for Georgia and has a 10.33 GAA – second-best in the league – and a .797 SV%.
The Wings have played well as an expansion team but still sit last in the NLL with three losses. Following their 11-10 OT loss to Toronto last Friday and forward Brett Hickey becoming unable to play for the remainder of the season due to a lower body injury, Wings general manager and head coach Paul Day acquired Kevin Crowley in a trade with New England on Saturday. Crowley led the NLL in goals last season with 51.
“We know his ability to score goals, and we’ve certainly seen him do it against us in the past,” Comeau said. “We’ve got our overall defensive plan, but we certainly spend time on each of their players. Kevin Crowley will be a guy that we’ll need to talk about and make sure we have a really good plan against him. Especially with his first game back, he’s going to want to validate that trade, and he’s going to want to stand up and lead that team to their first win. We know he’ll be gunning to shoot, and we need to be ready.”
Former Swarm forwards Kiel Matisz and Jordan Hall were selected by the Wings in the 2018 NLL Expansion Draft. Matisz (2G, 9A) was named team captain, and Hall (2G, 5A) is one of Philadelphia’s assistant captains. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NLL Entry Draft Chris Cloutier leads the Wings in points with 13 (7G, 6A).
Doug Buchan and Davide DiRuscio have split time between the pipes, but after last Friday’s game, Buchan seems to have emerged as the starting goaltender. The rookie has a 13.06 GAA and a .757 SV% in 119:25 min. of action.
Regardless of the new and familiar faces on the Wings, the Swarm are focusing on themselves and looking to improve following their struggles last week against the Warriors.
“Just like every other team in the league, we want to get better every time out,” Comeau said. “I don’t know that we got better last game. We need to look at some things and work to get better and make some improvements this week.”
Georgia returns to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena on Sunday, Jan. 27 to take on the Saskatchewan Rush. Faceoff is set for 4:05 p.m. ET. Billed as the Meeting of the Champions presented by IceByrd Frozen Yogurt, the last two teams to win an NLL World Championship will meet for the only time this regular season.
Early arriving fans can receive a Stinger Snowglobe. Tickets are available at GeorgiaSwarm.com/Champions or by calling 844-4-GASWARM.