The Minnesota Swarm and the New England Black Wolves will face off again on Friday, April 3rd at the Xcel Energy Center. Both teams are going to be taking on a new look. Both teams are at the bottom of the east and were the two most active teams on deadline day. They started out by swapping captains, with Minnesota sending Andrew Suitor to New England for Joel White along with a 2017 draft pick. Minnesota also traded last year’s number one pick Logan Schuss for Vancouver’s Johnny Powless and sent Cam Flint to Colorado for 2016 draft picks. The Black Wolves traded Kevin Crowley for Toronto’s Garret Billings.
This will be the final of four meetings for the teams. With the exception of the game on the 14th, things have been fairly civilized between the teams, but at the X, tempers flared early and Suitor took on Bill O’Brien. Kiel Matisz also went out with a right wrist injury in that game and has yet to return to play. Evan Kirk and Zach Higgins have been the goalies for these matchups, so I’d anticipate those two getting the start once again.
With Schuss gone, the Black Wolves will have to look to shut down Callum Crawford, Jordan MacIntosh and Shayne Jackson. The Swarm no longer have to face the veteran Crowley, but Kevin and Kyle Buchanan and Pat Saunders will keep them more than busy. As this is the final of four meetings, the teams should be pretty familiar with each other by now. The Swarm have not been able to solve Evan Kirk since January, but perhaps they can still split the series.
The Swarm and Black Wolves are both the bottom dwellers on the Eastern Conference floor. Minnesota is 4-8 and the Wolves are 3-7. Minnesota has a 1-3 record at home while New England is 1-3 on the road. With a team that struggles at home and one that struggles on the road, this game could go either way. Shayne Jackson and Pat Saunders are amongst those tied for 19th in the league in goals with 21. Jackson is also 15th in assists and points.
It just remains to be seen what the effect the shakeup of these two teams will have.