Game Preview

Georgia Swarm (4-4) vs. New England Black Wolves (4-2) Game Preview

Last Game: New England rallied for a 17-16 overtime win against Toronto on February 14th; Georgia defeated Buffalo, 20-15, on February 20th.

Players to watch:
New England – 2015 NLL MVP Shawn Evans (19 goals, 23 assists, 42 points, 30 loose balls) led the Black Wolves with six goals, six assists and nine loose balls in the win over Toronto. Kevin Crowley (14 goals, 16 assists, 30 points, 25 loose balls) had four goals and two assists against the Rock. Pat Saunders (17 goals, 11 assists, 28 points, 23 loose balls) had four goals and two assists.

Georgia – Johnny Powless (22 goals, 19 assists 41 points), Randy Staats (16 goals, 22 assists, 38 points) and Shayne Jackson (17 goals, 19 assists, 36 points) lead the Swarm offense. Jordan McIntosh has a team-high 67 loose balls.

Noteworthy:

  • This is the second meeting this season with Georgia. New England was an 11-6 winner at Georgia on January 17th. The Swarm won the season series last year, 3-1.
  • The Swarm’s highly-touted brothers, Miles and Lyle Thompson, are business partners with New England defender Bill O’Brien. The three are also cousins. O’Brien is the Director of Business Development for Thompson Brothers Lacrosse, a company he founded with the brothers. The Thompsons were heavily decorated stars at the University of Albany, where they shared the Tewaaraton Award in 2014.
  • 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 last November
  • In the previous meeting between the teams, Shawn Evans had five goals and three assists while Pat Saunders had three goals.

New England Black Wolves coach Glenn Clark
On what to expect in the rematch with Georgia:
“They really present a challenge to your defense. They are so skilled and dynamic offensively. You have to be disciplined in the defensive zone. If you get into a scrambley game with them, ball-watching, not executing your assignments, they can really hurt you. The challenge is to be consistent and disciplined, not letting them dictate the pace offensively, because they are very skilled up front.”

On the parity in the East Division, and in the league overall:
“Wins are golden. I don’t think anybody is looking at their schedule and planning ahead to a victory here or there and counting on it. It’s probably the most uncertain and balanced level of lacrosse that the NLL has ever had. There have always been a couple of (games) here and there where you could assume you were getting a ‘W’ but the way the league is now, you can’t make any assumptions that you will get a win on any given night.”

Kevin Crowley and Pat Saunders each had four goals and seem to be getting more comfortable with Shawn Evans:
“(Evans) will put the ball in places that you may not even know are open. The most amazing thing that I’ve seen is how well he passes the ball. He hits openings and seams that, really, he is the only one who knows are open as soon as they appear. That’s a pretty amazing thing. As that group gels, gets more comfortable and starts to understand how well Shawn distributes the ball, it’s just going to get better and better.”

Can you comment on Shawn Evans approaching the 300-goal milestone? He has 299.
“It’s a number that I know I never got close to. It’s an amazing feat. Even with 40-goal seasons, you would need 7 1/2 years to get to that number. It’s pretty impressive, in terms of, it’s a hard game to play and a hard game to last in. To be that consistent over that number of years is a real testament to his skill set. He plays the game as hard as anybody and he has been relatively healthy. He’s not a big, physical presence, yet he plays like he is. For him to compete at the level he competes at and to maintain that pace, it’s a real impressive feat for sure.”

Next Game: The Black Wolves visit Colorado on Saturday, March 5th at 7 p.m. For more information on the Black Wolves, visit blackwolves.com.