New England Black Wolves (9-6) at Georgia Swarm (7-9)
At Mohegan Sun Arena
Saturday, April 23, 2016
Last Game: New England fell to Georgia, 16-9, at Infinite Energy Arena on April 23; Georgia defeated Rochester, 17-11, the next night.
Players to watch:
New England – 2015 NLL MVP Shawn Evans (44 goals, 62 assists, 106 points, 109 loose balls) became the first player in NLL history to record four straight 100-point seasons. Kevin Crowley (31 goals, 50 assists, 81 points), Pat Saunders (37 goals, 29 assists, 66 points), Kevin Buchanan (18 goals, 32 assists and 50 points), Jordan Hall (13 goals, 28 assists, 41 points) and Kyle Buchanan (25 goals, 23 assists, 48 points) also spark the offense. Evan Kirk leads the NLL with 537 saves and is second in the league with a .790 save percentage.
Georgia – Randy Staats (32 goals, 51 assists, 83 points), Shayne Jackson (33 goals, 36assists, 69 points), Johnny Powless (34 goals, 34 assists, 68 points) and Jesse King (18 goals, 50 assists, 68 points) are offensive leaders for the Swarm. Jordan MacIntosh leads the team with 165 loose balls.
– Georgia has three of the top four rookie scorers – Staats is No. 1, King is No. 2 and Lyle Thompson (54 points) is No. 4. Staats had seven assists and a career-high eight points in the first half alone against New England last week. He has 16 points in his last two games.
– Shawn Evans set a new team record with 106 points this season. The old mark of 102 was set by Dan Dawson in 2012.
– Kyle Buchanan tied his single-season career high of 25 goals with three at Georgia. He also collected his 200th career point and 300th loose ball.
– Pat Saunders has 37 goals, 29 assists and 66 points with 61 loose balls this season, and could surpass last year’s single-season career highs of 38 goals, 30 assists, 68 points and 64 loose balls tonight
– Kevin Crowley continues to build on his career year. He has 81 career points, and is on pace for 97. He also has a new career high for assists (50), and needs six goals in his last three games to surpass his previous career best of 36.
– Former Black Wolves defender Joel White has 120 loose balls for Georgia
– Former Black Wolves head coach Blane Harrison is an assistant on the Swarm staff
– Evan Kirk was a goalie with the Swarm during the 2012 and 2013 seasons
– Shane MacDonald was traded from the Swarm to the Black Wolves in exchange for Drew Petkoff in November
– New England is 2-1 this season against Georgia. The Black Wolves were 1-3 against the Swarm in 2015
New England Black Wolves coach Glenn Clark
On last week’s loss at Georgia:
“Obviously, not the result we wanted last week. You look at (Georgia’s) last three results and they’re probably the hottest team in the league right now. They’re very skilled. We knew that. And they’re playing well. They’re playing with a lot of pace. Their defense is playing a lot better. And they’ve always had that offensive skill. They present a lot of challenges.”
How important will it be to get off to a much better start this time around?
“It’s important just from a game-management standpoint. But certainly, more so (because of) the way the last game went, to instill a little bit of confidence and get a little bit of swagger back. You never want to dig a hole for yourself. It makes managing the game more difficult. But I think also for the guys’ psyche, we want to make sure we’re in the battle early.”
You can still get home field for playoff games. Talk about the importance of that.
“It’s very important. It’s something we want. It’s something we’ve positioned ourselves to do. It’s not lost on us at all. I think every team is better at home and we’re no different, so we want to put a couple of more wins together before the season winds down. We’re not on cruise control physically or mentally. And we’re not satisfied about where we’re at. We want to keep pushing. We’re still in the mix for the first overall seed in the East, and until that is done, we’re still fighting for that.”
Next Game: The Black Wolves are at Buffalo on April 30th, then return home for the regular season finale against Rochester on May 1st. For more information on the Black Wolves, visit blackwolves.com.