After dropping games to the Buffalo Bandits and Colorado Mammoth, the Georgia Swarm (7-4) spent their first bye week in two months resting and trying to figure out what led to the two recent losses.
“The break was really welcome,” Swarm head coach Ed Comeau said. “The timing was good for us. Like with a lot of breaks in the schedule, it gives you the opportunity to reflect a little bit about where we’re at as a team and where we want to get to and also get some guys healthy. Back-to-backs take a toll on the body and on the mind, as well. It’s given us a chance to take a breath and regroup, and that’s really been our focus.”
The Swarm now return home to Infinite Energy Arena ready for the Rochester Knighthawks (2-7) on Saturday, March 2.
The Knighthawks are experiencing struggles of their own. The runner-up in last season’s NLL Finals did not win at all in February, most recently falling 16-9 to the Bandits in Blue Cross Arena.
When the Swarm and Knighthawks met earlier this season, the Swarm had one of their best offensive nights of the season, winning 16-12. Holden Cattoni and Randy Staats both recorded 11 points as goaltender Kevin Orleman made and won his first career start.
Despite the Knighthawks’ record, the Swarm know not to go into Saturday’s contest thinking it will be an easy win.
“I don’t pay a whole ton of attention to records,” Comeau said. “I think we learned that lesson in Colorado, too. We expect to see their best, and we know we’re going to have to be a lot better than what we have been the last couple of games in order to get a win.”
Cody Jamieson leads the Knighthawks in goals (17), assists (30) and points (47). Behind him sits Joe Resetarits with 37 points (15G, 22A), Kyle Jackson with 30 points (15G, 15A) and Austin Shanks with 28 points (16G, 12A).
Goaltender Angus Goodleaf has spent 485:10 min. between the pipes and sports a 2-6 record. That record is echoed by a 13.23 GAA and a .754 SV%.
“They’re a pretty versatile team from all around the floor. They’ve got a really good, fast defense who can push in transition, and then they have some pretty slick and talented guys up front who can make a lot happen” Swarm transition player Bryan Cole said.
The Swarm’s offense features Lyle Thompson (29G, 33A) and Staats (20G, 42A) near the top of the NLL leaderboards in the three major offensive categories. Cattoni has recorded 50 points (17G, 33A), with Shayne Jackson tallying 39 points (15G, 24A).
In front of the net is Mike Poulin with a 6-4 record. Over 575:05 min., Poulin has an 11.16 GAA and a .786 SV%.
The Knighthawks need a win on Saturday to keep their playoff hopes alive, but the Swarm are determined to get back on track and show their last two games were aberrations.
“We’re coming down to the last third of the season, and wins and losses are going to be much more critical now than they were in the first two-thirds of the season,” Comeau said.
Faceoff is set for 7:05 p.m. ET. Fans can catch the game on the B/R Live app available through iTunes, Google Play, Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire.