The Georgia Swarm (1-0) will continue their early season tour of young franchises as they follow up their opening weekend win over the brand-new Rochester Knighthawks (0-1) by hosting a second-year franchise in the Philadelphia Wings (0-0) in what will be the season opener for the Wings.
The Wings are of course no stranger to the Swarm, as it was the Wings who won the most recent regular season game played in Infinite Energy Arena in a stunning 19-14 upset to close the regular season and give the Wings just their only road win in franchise history.
With the league expanding to 13 teams and going to three divisions, division rivalries will become even more intense, and these two east division rivals will meet three teams over the course of the season.
The Wings expect to be much improved this season, having made some bold additions, particularly in goal. Former Swarm goalie Zach Higgins was added, and the Wings managed to convince Brandon Miller to come out retirement to join their team. Having allowed 13.67 GPG last season, the Wings will welcome a pair of goalies who have allowed over a full goal less per game during their careers.
The Wings offense was 4th among 11 teams last year in goals scored, but they didn’t ignore the offense in the offseason either. They added veteran Kevin Buchanan, a one-time Big Ten player of the year at Ohio State and a 70-point scorer for New England just three years ago. They also get Brett Hickey, another 70-point scorer just three years ago, back from injury after only playing in three games a year ago.
The Swarm are fully prepared for what will be a dynamic attack from these additions that will join Kevin Crowley and Kiel Matisz who each scored 82 points a year ago. They’re back up front along with 50-point scorers Matt Rambo and Blaze Riorden.
Of course, the Swarm are no strangers to offense either. They were, after all, the second highest scoring team in the league a year ago and still possess one of the great 1-2 punches in the league in the Thompson brothers with Miles and Lyle Thompson. The brothers combined for 12 points in the season opening victory over Rochester while Shayne Jackson also pitched in 7 points.
Despite the 14 goals, the defense was the real story against Rochester. The Swarm set a franchise record for fewest goals allowed in a game with the four they let in. 15-year veteran goalie Mike Poulin set a career single game best by stopping .947% of the shots he saw.
Adding to some of the excitement surrounding the home opener will the availability of the game for locals in the Atlanta area. For the first time, all Swarm home games will be broadcast over the air on local TV from CW69. With it being the first weekend after the college football season, local area sports fans otherwise unaware of the Swarm might be able to check in on the team and see an exciting team that has enjoyed a lot of success in recent years.