Swarm hope to clinch a playoff berth, while Blackwolves look to draw closer to first.
These teams may of relocated from their original cities, but the rivalry is still there.
Tonight the Georgia Swarm (7-9) will travel and face division rival New England BlackWolves (9-6)fron the Mohegan Sun Arena. When these teams met last week, Georgia controlled the game to a 16-9 victory.
The Swarm currently sit as the third seed in the NLL East, and can clinch a playoff berth with a win and a Rochester loss. A loss by the Swarm and a Rochester win can damage hopes of a playoff berth for the Swarm.
Swarm are led by rookie Randy Staats (32G/51A), Shayne Jackson (33G/36A), Johnny Powless (34G/34A), and Jesse King (18G/50A). Goaltender Brodie MacDonald has a 5-6 record with a 13.02 GAA. Swarm are riding a three game winning streak as they have outscored their opponents 50-30. A win tomorrow night will even the season series at two games apiece for the Swarm.
The BlackWolves are led my two time MVP Shawn Evans (44G/62A), Kevin Crowley (31G/50A). Pat Saunders is second on the team in goals with 37. The BlackWolves have already clinched a playoff berth and with a win, will clinch at least a #2 seed and a home game. It will also keep them in contention for the number one seed in the East, and will face Buffalo next week to see who will have that first round bye.
A loss will just about eliminate any chance to win the #1 seed in the east, and can also make things a bit interesting with the Swarm for the #2 seed. New England has won 2 of last 3, with that lone defeat coming last week to the Swarm 16-9.
One of the things to look out for in the game is special teams. The New England BlackWolves are second in the league on the powerplay (40/74..54.05%) while the Swarm are seventh in the league (42/85..49.41). As far as each team killing off their penalties, that’s a different story as they are both at the bottom of the list. Swarm are eighth (45%), while the Blackwolves are last (43.68).
Scoring shorthanded doesn’t seem to be a problem either. New England 10, Swarm 9 (Rush lead league with 14). So this game could come down to, not who has the ball last for that final shot, but which team doesn’t have a man in the box.
Should the ball bounce the right way and the Swarm clinch tonight, this will be their first appearance in the playoffs since 2013 when they were members of the western conference under the name Minnesota Swarm.
The Blackwolves already clinched a spot in the playoffs, their first since 2013 also when they were the Philadelphia Wings.
Either way, this will be an exciting game to watch tonight.
If the ball bounces Georgia’s way and the clinch tonight, it will be the first time since 2008 that we will not see neither the Toronto Rock or the Rochester Knighthawks will be in the playoffs. Last time they missed it individually, Rochester (2010), Toronto (2009).