Coming off a historic win, the Georgia Swarm (1-0) return home to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena to take on the Philadelphia Wings (0-0) on Saturday, Dec. 14. Face-off between the East Division rivals is set for 7:00 p.m. ET.
For the first time ever, the Swarm will have a home game broadcast live on television. The Swarm partnered with Atlanta’s CW69 to air eight of the Swarm’s nine home games live on Channel 69 in the Metro Atlanta area. The TV broadcast is complemented by the Swarm having their games broadcast over the radio on the Atlanta Sports X for a second season, and fans can listen to the action at 1230AM/106.3FM.
“Having our games aired live on local television to expose the Swarm product across Georgia was a key goal of ours this offseason, and we couldn’t be more excited to have Atlanta’s CW69 deliver the excitement and energy of box lacrosse into Atlanta households this coming season,” Swarm Co-Owner and President Andy Arlotta said in the announcement press release. “Fans who have never seen an indoor lacrosse game can now experience the product that brought Atlanta its first professional sporting world championship in nearly 22 years and has made the playoffs the past four seasons.
“It was important for us to partner with a well-respected and experienced partner in Atlanta’s CW69 – one with an impressive track record broadcasting high profile sports properties like the Atlanta Falcons and Atlantic Coast Conference football games. Their prominence and reach will help us elevate our brand to unprecedented heights and help reinforce in our market the meteoric rise of the sport of lacrosse across North America.”
To celebrate their fifth season in Georgia, the Swarm are hosting We Are Sting City Night and honoring their raucous home and the members who comprise it. Tickets for the Swarm’s Home Opener start as low as $20 and are available at GeorgiaSwarm.com/StingCityNight or by calling 844-4-GASWARM.
A statement 14-4 win against the expansion Rochester Knighthawks on Saturday, Nov. 30 lifted the Swarm’s spirits high, and after a bye week, the Swarm return home to open the Wings’ season, the only team in the NLL to have not played a game in the 2019-20 season.
Lyle and Miles Thompson accounted for half of the Swarm’s goals, and goaltender Mike Poulin and the defense made Swarm franchise history by holding the Knighthawks to just four goals, the new Swarm record for fewest goals against in a single game. The 2.36 GAA and .947 SV% are new single game bests for Poulin, now in his 15th NLL season.
Shayne Jackson (3G, 4A) leads the Swarm offense alongside Lyle (4G, 3A), and Miles is next with five points (3G, 2A).
The celebration following their first win of the season was short-lived, as the Swarm immediately turned their attention towards the Philadelphia Wings for the first of three games this season against the East Division foe.
Now in their second season, the Wings split the 2018-19 season series with the Swarm, with both teams notching road wins.
The Wings evened up the season series in the 2018-19 regular season finale, dropping the Swarm, 19-14. Gowah Abrams earned the win between the pipes for the Wings, finishing the game with a .745 SV%.
A busy offseason for the Wings witnessed them acquire goaltenders Zach Higgins and Brandon Miller, coaxing the latter out of retirement. Higgins, who was with the Swarm for the first four seasons of his career, has a career 12.52 GAA and .756 SV%. Miller last played in 2018 with the Toronto Rock, his 18th season in the NLL. Throughout his career, the 40-year-old has a 12.11 GAA and a .762 SV%.
Out the front door, the Wings added veteran forward Kevin Buchanan and welcomed Brett Hickey back from injury.
They join the Wings’ 2018-19 points leaders in Kevin Crowley (35G, 47A) and Kiel Matisz (27G, 55A), and Josh Currier (34G, 28A), Matt Rambo (26G, 30A), and Blaze Riorden (23G, 31A) are all returning from last season.
“Their offense is real good, and it certainly will be a challenge for us not just because of their size but because they had a chance to play together last year,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “Just like we talk about chemistry with our group, their group has a pedigree of chemistry that’s going to help them right off the bat.”
A disappointing inaugural season for the Wings will fuel their sophomore effort, and the Swarm learned at the end of last season to not take the young club lightly. The Wings concluded the 2018-19 regular season with a 19-14 road win, capping their first season with their fourth win.
The Swarm’s 14-4 season-opening win might as well have happened eons ago instead of just two weeks past. As far as Comeau is concerned, that game and the 2018-19 regular season finale are “rearview mirror stuff.”
“Whether it’s last year or last week, it’s in the past,” he said. “If you want to be successful in this league or in any sports league, you have to focus on the here and now. Where we happy with how we played last year? No. Did they come in and crush us in our own building? Absolutely, and I’m sure our guys remember that. But once again, they’ve got some different bodies, we’ve got some different bodies, and we’re just focusing on what we need to do to compete.”