New England Black Wolves vs.
Saturday, 15 2018 | 7:05 PM
Infinite Energy Arena | Duluth, Georgia
Get ready for Saturday’s showdown with the Georgia Swarm with the things you need to know going into the contest.
For the second year in a row the Swarm and the Black Wolves will face off against each other to open the season. New England came out on top last season, 13-11, at Mohegan Sun Arena on December 8, 2017. In Saturday’s matchup, the Swarm are seeking their fourth consecutive home opening victory. Georgia had a 6-3 home record during the 2017-18 season, tied for the best home record in the league, and have won four consecutive home games dating back to March 18.
Change Is The Name Of The Game
Across the board for both teams, there have been a number of changes. For New England, the main changes come on defense, with Doug Jamieson and Alex Buque prepared to split time in goal and the additions of Andrew Suitor, Greg Downing and Ryan Fournier on the back end with the goal to add speed and athleticism to the core group already in place. For Georgia, the loss of forwards Keil Matiez and Jordan Hall in the expansion draft and Jesse King via trade caused a shift of transition players to offense to join Lyle Thompson, Miles Thompson, Shayne Jackson and Randy Staats.
The Georgia offense is led by 2017 NLL MVP Lyle Thompson, his brother Miles, Shayne Jackson and Randy Staats. Last season, the four combined for 130 goals, 57.5 percent of Georgia’s scoring. Lyle Thompson had 46 goals to lead the team, while Jackson had 33 goals and a team-best 50 assists. Staats added 30 goals and Miles Thompson had 21 goals. “They are tremendous players,” Black Wolves general manager Rich Lisk said. “Defensively we have to play our system and match them athletically. They just keep restocking with tremendous athletes.”
Veteran netminder Mike Poulin will again be between the pipes for the Swarm this season. Poulin led the NLL in minutes played last season at 1042:11 and was second with 692 saves. He also had a 11.69 goals against average and a 77.3 percent save percentage. He’ll be facing a New England team that ranked eighth in the league with 194 goals last season The Black Wolves will look to test Poulin early. “I like the fact that we are getting them first,” Lisk said. “We’ve all only had two weeks to get ready, so he hasn’t had a chance to settle and get into his rhythm. If we can get out and start fast, hopefully we can get him off his game.”