New England Black Wolves (2-3) at Georgia Swarm (4-1)
At Infinite Energy Arena
Saturday, February 11th, 7:05 p.m.
Live on NLLTV.com
Last Game: New England won 10-9 in overtime at home against the Rochester Knighthawks on February 3rd. Georgia fell 10-14 in Colorado on February 4th.
Players to Watch: New England – Shawn Evans (nine goals, 17 assists) is leading the Black Wolves in both assists and points (26). He led the team with two goals and three assists last week against Rochester. Pat Saunders (nine goals, 10 assists) is currently tied for second on the team in goals. He had one goal and three assists against the Knighthawks. Kevin Crowley (11 goals, 10 assists) had two goals against Rochester. Chad Culp (seven goals, nine assists) had his third straight two-goal game, including the game-winner in overtime.
Georgia – Lyle Thompson (14 goals, 16 assists) leads the Swarm in both goals and points (30) this season. He had four goals and an assist in last week’s loss to Colorado. Miles Thompson (10 goals, four assists) is fourth on the team in scoring. Miles had two goals and two assists against the Mammoth. Jerome Thompson (three goals, 16 assists) is tied for second on the team in assists through five games. He also added four assists in the loss.
· Shawn Evans (one goal, three assists), Chad Culp (two goals, two assists), Kevin Crowley (two goals, two assists) and Pat Saunders (two goals, two assists) led the Black Wolves in scoring in New England’s 14-9 loss at Georgia on January 20th.
· Jordan Hall (three goals, four assists), Lyle Thompson (four goals, two assists) and Jerome Thompson (four assists) led the Swarm on January 20th.
· Seth Oakes scored his first career NLL goal last week against Rochester.
· Evans is six assists shy of 600 for his career.
· Crowley has scored two or more goals in the last four games for the Black Wolves, and had a season-high 17shots last week against Rochester.
· Jay Thorimbert is leading the Black Wolves, and the NLL, this season in loose balls with 54, and has collected 11 or more in each of his last three games for New England.
· Lyle Thompson has scored two or more goals in every game this season for the Swarm.
· Lyle Thompson is currently sixth in the NLL in points (30) and fifth in goals scored.
· Evans ranks ninth in NLL scoring (26).
· Hall ranks fifth in the league in assists with 20.
· Lyle Thompson’s three short-handed goals this season leads the NLL.
· Evans is currently ranked second in the league in shots with 93.
· Through five games, Evan Kirk is second in the NLL in saves with 198.
· Mike Poulin is leading all goalies in wins with four for Georgia, and currently holds the season record for game high saves with 52 against the Black Wolves on January 20th.
· Alex Crepinsek (two goals, six assists) ranks second in the league in defensive scoring and assists.
· New England leads the league in short-handed goals scored on the road (4).
· Georgia (74 goals) is leading the NLL in goals per game (14.8).
New England Black Wolves coach Glenn Clark
“Well, a good win for us, got us back. We dug a pretty good hole after 0-3, so winning two in a row put us back in the mix. It’s a dangerous league, you can lose ground pretty quickly, so getting those two wins was important and I’m pretty excited about this weekend to be honest. It’s an opportunity to test ourselves. I don’t think we showed our best there last time and they really dominated us and played a strong game. I think it’s a good opportunity to challenge ourselves again against one of the premiere teams in the league so I’m pretty excited to get back at it again in Georgia.”
What do you think Georgia has done right so far this year?
“I think it started a couple years ago when they stockpiled a lot of first round draft picks and got world-class talent on their roster. They have really built a strong team through the draft. They’re talented, they’re young, they’re fast and they’re well coached. They’ve got a great coaching staff. I’ve worked with all of them. They’re done a good job setting their team up with a real strong talent base. They’ve got a good coaching staff, and the acquisition of Mike Poulin has probably really helped settle them down and play through some of their mistakes on defense because he’s coming up with big saves. It’s not one thing and it didn’t just start this year. It’s been a process for them, but they’re really coming into their own and becoming one of the premiere teams in the league.”
After three games, is there anything you guys have to do differently on the road besides win in terms of dealing with the crowd or anything that could help you settle down as opposed to when you’re at home?
“Not really. We really didn’t look at it as home versus away. One of the things we really focused on, as we were getting into that losing streak and getting out of it, was more the mental aspect of the game. Our guys seemed really tight, really tense. It’s very difficult to sort of get into a rhythm, get into your flow if you’re worried about making mistakes and you’re worried about what’s next. I thought we weren’t in the best place mentally in terms of stress, tension, all that kind of stuff. I think we just continue on with that and the message is, ‘You guys are here for a reason. We’ve had some success, we can have success again. Let’s just play.’ We have our systems and everything we have in place, but the players have to deliver, and in order to deliver they’ve got to be feeling good about themselves. I don’t really think it’s a home-away thing, I think we just needed to adjust a little bit of our mindset as we were coming out of that losing streak.”
Through five games, are you pleased with how the defensive unit has come along, or is it still kind of a work in progress?
“It always is. Overall, we’re pretty happy. Honestly, it’s difficult to do with the flow and the pace of a lacrosse game, but you still try to get as close to that as you can. There are still some areas that we need to clean up. We got scored against in Buffalo and Rochester on a quick possession change where we just weren’t aware enough on the floor. Guys were kind of arguing with the refs as they’re blowing the ball in and somebody’s going in on a breakaway – that’s just reaction and attention to detail. We’re stressing that with them, that you know what, you can ask questions later. With these quick resets, you can’t put your arms up in the air and question the ref as a guy’s going in on a breakaway. Those types of things we want to clean up, certain things in our defensive scheme. Overall, I think we’ve played pretty well, and we’ve done it in stretches. Our last game against Rochester, we held them to one power play goal in the first half, and even quite a ways into the third quarter we held them to three goals, and then let a little run go. Overall, it hasn’t been bad, but we always want to improve.”