Game Previews

Swarm starts 2018-19 season Saturday against New England

Swarm will wear special Star Wars themed uniforms in its Home Opener

For the second season in a row, the Georgia Swarm will begin its season with a contest against the New England Black Wolves. Georgia hosts its division rival Saturday, Dec. 15 at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena. Faceoff is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.

The Swarm will wear special Star Wars themed jerseys for Star Wars Night presented by Peachtree Orthopedics. Georgia will auction off the game-used, autographed Star Wars uniforms after the game. Select proceeds from the uniform auction will benefit the Rally Foundation.

Fans will get the opportunity to interact with their favorite Star Wars characters throughout the night as members of the 501st Legion, Georgia Garrison will once again be in attendance. Early arriving fans can receive light-up BamStix. Tickets are available by visiting GeorgiaSwarm.com/StarWars or by calling 844-4-GASWARM.

The Swarm’s Home Opener will also be streamed through the new B/R Live website and app available through iTunes, Google Play, Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV. The game will air live on Atlanta’s Sports X 1230 & 106.3FM and streaming online or your smart phone at atlsportsx.com.

Georgia had a busy offseason with the 2018 NLL Entry Draft and Expansion Draft after returning to the East Division Finals for a second-straight season. The team announced its 21-man Active Roster on Monday, holding a competitive two-week Training Camp at the beginning of December.

“Our veteran players continued to progress from where they were in the past, and we have some young players that stepped in and really showed that they are able to play and compete at this level,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said.

While the team is returning its captains, the Thompson Brothers, and most of its defensive unit, Georgia features four rookies – Brendan Bomberry (No. 7 overall), 2018 MLL Defensive Player of the Year Matt Dunn (acquired as a free agent), Joel Tinney (No. 18 overall) and Adam Wiedemann (No. 8 overall) – and newcomer Holden Cattoni. Georgia acquired Cattoni in a trade which sent Jesse King to the Calgary Roughnecks.

The rookies will be joining a strong Swarm defensive core led by the 2017 NLL Defensive Player of the Year assistant captain Jason Noble.

“The fact that we have a strong core, I know that those players will do everything they can to help the young players that are stepping in and getting the opportunity to play and perform at this level,” Comeau said.

Swarm defense | Photo Credit: Kyle Hess

The Swarm’s net will be protected once again by Mike Poulin. The veteran netminder turned in one of the best seasons of his career in 2018, playing the most minutes of his career with 1042:11 and posting an 11.69 GAA and a .773 SV%. Kevin Orleman will serve as the back-up goaltender once again.

New England had a busy offseason, as well. Two of its biggest moves were signing Callum Crawford to a two-year deal and acquiring Tyler Digby in a trade with Calgary. The Black Wolves could be without last year’s top goal scorer in the NLL, Kevin Crowley. Crowley has yet to agree to a new contract with the Black Wolves.

Between the pipes, the Black Wolves are rolling with Alex Buque and Doug Jamieson. Buque spent most of the time in front of the net for the Buffalo Bandits in 2018, finishing his fourth NLL season with a 12.94 GAA and a .771 SV% over 709:41 min. Jamieson played 90:11 min. and allowed 33 GA on 82 SOG, good for a 21.96 GAA and a .598 SV%.

The Swarm will be seeking for its fourth-straight Home Opener win. Georgia finished the 2017-18 season first in the East Division with an 11-7 record. New England sat in third place last season with a 9-9 record and went 1-2 against the Swarm.

Given the changes to New England’s roster over the offseason, Comeau and the Swarm are concerned more with what they can control than what the final iteration of the Black Wolves will look like come Saturday.

“Early in the season, it’s really important to focus on your team, so that’s what we’re trying to do,” Comeau said. “We’re trying to focus on the Swarm and our players and our principles and what we need to do to be successful this weekend and throughout the season.”