For the New England Black Wolves, Friday night’s game against the Georgia Swarm looks to be much more important for them on paper than their counterparts. In their previous meeting at Mohegan Sun Arena the Black Wolves (7-7) were able to take down the first place Swarm (9-4) rather convincingly with a 13-8 victory.
In that win, New England held Georgia’s top scorer, Lyle Thompson, to only one assist and no goals. Thompson did have 10 shots in the contest but Black Wolves goalie Evan Kirk stood tall them all along with 34 more from the rest of the Swarm. Kirk’s 44 saves in the game are only a portion of his league leading 564 saves but that game seemed to set him off on a roll that has no sign of stopping.
Last weekend Kirk and the Black Wolves turned in a dominating win against the Toronto Rock. Kirk saw 70 shots from Toronto, stopping 56. He gave up three goals in the game’s final three minutes when the Rock pulled their goaltender and fired everything they had at the Black Wolves net.
“I look at it as he got a good workout,” Black Wolves head coach Glenn Clark said about his goaltender’s workload against Toronto. “He got lots of shots, lots of experience, and its good for him to see a lot of rubber. He’ll be fine.”
New England, winners of four of their last five games, is firing on all cylinders and looks to be a hot team rolling into the playoffs. Friday’s game against Georgia will be their second-to-last at home and for a team that is 5-2 at home and 2-5 on the road, they need to pick up wins in both home matches if they want any chance of hosting a first round playoff game.
“We are better at home, most teams are.” Clark said. “For whatever reason we have a comfort level playing at Mohegan and we certainly would love to have another home game, not only for us but for the fans. We had two home playoff games last year for the crowd and it had been a long dry spell prior to that so we would love to get another playoff game, or two, or three or four.”
As the National Lacrosse League playoffs near on the horizon, Clark and the Black Wolves cannot afford to get ahead of themselves and assume that they are a lock for the playoffs. There is still a lot of work to do in their final four games it all starts on Friday night with their first of two matchups with the NLL’s top two teams. New England hosts Georgia this week before traveling north to Saskatchewan to face off with the top team in the West.
“It’s one of those things. I would love to have a home playoff game and that is certainly a goal. We won’t hide from that but you have to take it one step at a time. We have to win our games and we have to jump ahead of Toronto at this point.”
With Toronto enjoying a weekend off, New England can pull even in the standings with the Rock if they are able to topple the Swarm again at Mohegan Sun Arena. Friday night will be Native American Heritage Night at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
Also, Thompson Brothers Lacrosse has partnered with Native Vision to bring the first ever Thompson Brothers Lacrosse Challenge. Thompson Brothers Lacrosse athletes, Lyle Thompson and Bill O’Brien will not only be battle on the floor but they will also be competing to get the most pledges and raise the most money for Native Vision.
Visit http://pledgeit.org/matchup/thompson-brothers-lacrosse and pledge a dollar amount of your choice for each goal scored by either Lyle and the Swarm or Bill and the Black Wolves.