(DULUTH, Ga.) – The Georgia Swarm (0-1) continues its two-game road trip to start the 2017-18 NLL Season by taking on the Colorado Mammoth (1-0) at the Pepsi Center on Saturday, Dec. 23. Faceoff is set for 9:00 p.m. ET.
Both teams are coming off a bye-week after their respective season openers. Georgia fell to the New England Black Wolves 13-11, and Colorado opened on the road with a 15-8 win against the Vancouver Stealth.
“We’ve said this: We’re going to get everybody’s A-game now,” Swarm assistant coach Sean Ferris said. “So we’re going to get Colorado’s best game. They came off a nice win in Vancouver. It’s tough to win on the road in this league. So if we can win on the road, have a good record on the road, it’s key. That’s what we need to do, get back to .500 here and get back to 1-1.”
During the 2017 season, the Swarm and Mammoth butted heads twice and split the series with home victories. In their last meeting, Georgia dominated Colorado with a 21-13 victory on April 1. Lyle Thompson led the scoring that night by matching his career-high 11 points (4G, 7A), and four other Swarm players recorded nine points.
The Swarm’s road loss was highlighted by the defense preventing the Black Wolves from scoring for nearly 22 minutes. Goaltender Mike Poulin finished the night with a 13 GAA and a .735 SV%. The men in blue and yellow are also the only NLL team to have not committed a penalty during the 2017-18 season yet.
Georgia’s season opener also featured Jesse King’s return after missing the 2017 season due to an offseason injury; King scored a hat trick in the first half and added two assists to his night. Randy Staats led the team in goals that night with four and tied with Kiel Matisz (1G, 4A) for most team points at five each.
Colorado will be rolling out the welcome mat with one of the top defenses in the NLL, held together between the pipes by 2017 NLL Goaltender of the Year Dillon Ward. After losing team captain Dan Coates and Cameron Holding to season-ending injuries, the Mammoth defense stepped up big against a dangerous Stealth offense and held it to an impressive eight goals; Colorado only allowed three goals against during the last three quarters.
Offensively this season, the Mammoth are led by newcomer Ryan Benesch (2G, 6A), Chris Wardle (4G, 1A), and Jeremy Noble (2G, 3A). Six other Mammoth players found the back of the net that night for a varied offensive performance. However, the team was prevented from scoring at all in the fourth quarter.
“(Colorado) did a good job of pressuring the ball and pushing the ball in transition,” Ferris said. “They scored two shorthanded goals against Vancouver and scored three or four goals in transition. That’s big when you can get goals out of the back end. That’s what we didn’t have in our first game. They really played defense, put good pressure on the ball, and pushed the ball in transition. They’ve got a good young squad, and their veteran guys stepped up.
“We had a good practice with the guys (Monday) night. We reiterated some of the principles and worked on some offensive and defensive things and some strategies, kind of correct the mistakes we made in the last game and prepare for Colorado.”
The Swarm’s home opener will be on Saturday, Dec. 30. Faceoff is set for 7:05 p.m. ET. The home opener will feature the unveiling of the Championship Banner, a ring ceremony as the Swarm players receive their Championship rings, and a halftime performance by Atlanta-based GRAMMY® Award-winning hip hop artist 2 Chainz. Tickets for this historic night are available at GeorgiaSwarm.com/2Chainz or by calling 844-4-GASWARM.