For the first time this season the Georgia Swarm (6-4) will get to enjoy taking the floor twice in two days as they embark on their first double header weekend in over a year. Making this double header more challenging will be that it will take place in two different cities.
The Swarm will begin by taking on the New York Riptide on the road, in a return visit that promises to bring back good memories. The Riptide (1-11) of course won their only game of their franchise’s existence in this building against the Swarm.
The Swarm did exact a bit of revenge a few weeks ago when the Riptide made their trek down to Georgia, but to fully avenge the earlier loss this season, the Swarm want to take this one on the road. Not to mention, losing the season series to a team who has yet to defeat anyone else isn’t exactly a confidence boost.
But what was a confidence boost was the Swarm’s 14-7 road victory in Vancouver last weekend. It showed what happens when the Swarm play a full sixty minutes.
And the Swarm will need that at home against the Philadelphia Wings (7-6) on Sunday afternoon. The Wings may be as desperate as any team can be, at least any team that fancies themselves a contender.
After losing the season opener to the Swarm, the Wings won five of their next six games, before again losing to the Swarm, this time in Philadelphia. But after defeating the Buffalo Bandits and division leading New England Black Wolves following the loss the Swarm, the Wings have now dropped three consecutive games, including Saturday afternoon to New England.
With the Wings slumping, the Swarm know the chance is now to pounce and further establish their position as a playoff team, and as the biggest threat to New England for the division crown. While the Wings have struggled as of late, the Swarm have done just the opposite.
Led by the league’s most productive offense, boasting four players with over 40 points each for the season, the Swarm have won four of their last five games, since losing at New York. The explosive Swarm offense has averaged 15 goals per game over their last three matches (2-1) and seem to be finding their groove.
Anchored by Shayne Jackson and his 64 points along with Jordan Hall and his 57, the Swarm will look to continue riding their offense. If they can make the game high scoring, you figure to like their chances as the Wings have scored more than 10 goals just once in their last five times out.
Kevin Crowley, the top assist man in the National Lacrosse League will be looked to help turn around the offensive woes for Philadelphia, but to do that, he’ll need some help from Brett Hickey, the fifth leading goal scorer in the league. Kiel Matisz could also play a prominent role on Sunday. Matisz, arguably the best offensive transition player in the league right now, will be looked upon to help facilitate Crowley and Hickey and put pressure on Swarm goalie Mike Poulin.
After a strong start to the year, Poulin has found the 2020 season to be a bit of a grind, as his .781 save percentage barely cracks the top ten in the league. That the Swarm are still two games above .500 despite that is a testament to their offense.
First things first, the Swarm need to take care of business Saturday night against the Riptide and not get caught looking ahead to the Wings. But should the Swarm handle the single win Riptide, they would enter their game with Philadelphia with a chance to move to 8-4, and establish themselves again as a clear title contender.
For the Wings, they need to remind themselves that they too have the ability to compete with anyone. Stopping the bleeding and getting a big road win against a division rival would go a long way towards doing just that.