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What to Expect: Week 8

Friday, January 21

Georgia Swarm (1-3) at Rochester Knighthawks (2-1) – 6:30pm ET – ESPNU/TSN.ca

The NLL will be on ESPNU for the first time this season on Friday night. The Georgia Swarm will be trying to get back on track following their two-game losing streak. Although they are two games under .500, the Swarm have a goal differential of -4, which is best for teams with losing records. The defense and goaltending has been great on the penalty kill at a 73.3% success rate when a man down but are only 31.6% when on the powerplay. The Swarm have had eight rookies play consistent minutes and will continue to grow together.  It’s been 5 weeks since we’ve saw the Knighthawks dominating performance over the FireWolves, but luckily for fans they get a double dose of Knighthawks on Friday and Saturday. Rylan Hartley will look to build on his last performance in net where he totaled 32 saves on 36 shots before leaving the game. In a milestone watch, Shawn Evans is on the verge of moving up some important lists, needing three goals to pass Josh Sanderson for ninth on the all-time goals list with 450 and three assists to become the fifth player in league history with 800 for his career.

Saturday, January 22

Rochester Knighthawks (TBD) at Philadelphia Wings (3-2)  – 7:00pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca

After their Georgia Swarm matchup, the Knighthawks travel south to Philadelphia to face the Wings. With the potential for tired legs on back-to-back nights, it would not be a surprise to see backup goalie, Joel Watson step in net for the Knighthawks. During the Knighthawks’ game in Week 3, Watson was able to get his first NLL action, playing just under 12 minutes and making 10 saves on 13 shots. As for the Wings, they will be playing on back-to-back nights as well, both at home where they are currently 3-1 on the season. Their lone loss at home was last week versus the FireWolves. Trevor Baptiste needs just four faceoff wins to reach 700 in his career, quickly climbing the ladder as one of the most dominant faceoff men in league history. With two more assists, Kiel Matisz will have 300 throughout his career. Everyone was excited to see Zach Higgins back in net last week, saving 47 shots with a .839 save percentage in the loss.

Sunday, January 23

New York Riptide (0-4) at Philadelphia Wings (TBD) – 4:00pm ET – ESPN+/TSN.ca

The New York Riptide enter another week without a win under their belts. After an exciting 9-goal comeback from the beginning of the second half, the Riptide fell one goal short to Panther City last week with a final score of 13-12 after over 10 minutes of overtime and a potential winner by Callum Crawford called off for a crease violation. The Riptide’s record does not reflect the tough fight they bring to each game, three of which were lost by a two goals or less. Crawford ranks second in assists across the league after tallying seven last week. Crawford also has opportunity to become the 16th player in league history to reach 400 goals should he record a hattrick this Sunday. For the Riptide, they need to start the game on a positive note which could happen against a Wings team playing the night before. The Riptide are -14 in the first half and a +8 in the second half. Riptide rookies, Jeff Teat and Larson Sundown have combined for nine goals and 14 assists so far this season. This will be the second night this weekend the Wings defend their home turf at Wells Fargo Center, completing six of their nine home game once the weekend is over. We could see Eric Penney get his second start in net for the Wings or Nolan Clayton given the quick turnaround.