Is Saturday night finally the opportunity for everyone to find out just who the Georgia Swarm really are in 2020. Are they the team who dominated their first two opponents? The one who lost three straight games? Or the one who has won three straight?
The defending champion Calgary Roughnecks will be heading to Infinite Energy Center on Saturday night and as they arrive, with them will be team captain Dane Dobbie. Dobbie has missed the last half dozen games due to a suspension, but the defending league and finals MVP will be back on the floor against the Swarm.
It’s been a struggle for the defending league champs without the man who scored 115 points a year ago. After winning their season opener against the Colorado Mammoth, the Roughnecks have won just two of their last four games, all games missed by Dobbie.
Curtis Dickson in particular will be happy to see his teammate back on the floor. The offense has struggled much of 2020, to the point that while Dickson leads the Roughnecks in scoring, the Swarm have four players with more points on the year.
But the Swarm are very familiar with what Dickson is capable of. Both he and Dobbie have put-up double-digit performances against the Swarm in the past, and back on the floor together will look to do the same again.
And the Roughnecks will probably need it. Few teams in the league offer the diverse offensive firepower that the Swarm do, and with a team that doesn’t have the scoring depth to match, the Roughnecks will look to their top two players to put a lot of points on the board.
Defensively, the Swarm seem to have pulled their act back together after a rough January in which they struggled, particularly in the final period. Their focus will be on the top two scorers from the Roughnecks and in keeping them from getting good looks on goalie Mike Poulin.
Offensively, Shayne Jackson may have had his seven-game streak of hat streaks snapped, he still dished out a half dozen assists last week against the New York Riptide. His ability to distribute the ball to his plethora of capable teammates makes defending him next to impossible.
Leave him one on one, and he’s likely to put three or four goals in the back of the net. Double him? And you’re likely to see him hand out five plus assists. The Roughnecks will need to find a way to keep him out of the middle of the floor. Expect them to follow a plan that is similar to that of the Colorado Mammoth in that they will attempt to make this a physical match where Swarm offensive players rarely see the open space without a body in their face.
The Roughnecks desperately do not wish to fall to two games below .500, while the Swarm are looking to move to 6-3 and keep pace with the division leading Philadelphia Wings. The return of Dobbie will hopefully for Calgary mark the return elite status in the National Lacrosse League.