New England Black Wolves at Georgia Swarm Game Preview

New England Black Wolves (0-2) at Georgia Swarm (2-0)

At Infinite Energy Arena

Friday, January 20th, 7:35 p.m.

Live on NLLTV.com

 

Last Game: New England lost 11-10 in overtime on January 14th in Colorado; Georgia won 18-14 in Buffalo on January 14th.  

 

Players to Watch: New England – Kevin Crowley (three goals, three assists) led the Black Wolves in scoring at Colorado. Kyle Buchanan and Shawn Evans each had two goals and three assists. Evan Kirk collected 42 saves and allowed just four goals in the second half and overtime.

Georgia – Randy Staats (three goals) led the Swarm in scoring against the Bandits. Lyle Thompson added two goals and six assists; Jordan Hall and Jerome Thompson each had two goals and four assists. Five of the 14 goals surrendered by Mike Poulin (41 saves) were on Buffalo power plays.

 

Noteworthy:

  • New England is 4-4 against the Swarm since relocating from Philadelphia prior to the 2015 season.
  • Shawn Evans (14 goals, 19 assists) and Pat Saunders (10 goals, six assists) led New England in scoring in four regular season games against the Swarm in 2016.
  • Shayne Jackson (eight goals, 11 assists), Jesse King (eight goals, 12 assists) and Randy Staats (seven goals, 13 assists) led the Swarm in four games against the Black Wolves in 2016.
  • New England was 2-0 against the Swarm at home during the 2016 season.
  • Georgia held a 4-5 record at home, while New England finished with a 4-5 road record in 2016.
  • Miles Thompson, Randy Staats, and Shayne Jackson are currently all tied for fourth in scoring in the NLL this season with six goals apiece.
  • Evan Kirk currently ranks third in the NLL in saves (87).
  • Kevin Crowley scored his 25th career hat trick against Colorado last week.
  • Chad Culp needs three more assists to reach 300 career assists.
  • Georgia currently leads the NLL in power play goals with 11 while New England leads the league in power play goals surrendered with 11.
  • Georgia ranked second in the NLL in shooting percentage (.180) in 2016.
  • Shayne Jackson tied for eighth in the NLL in scoring last year with 40 goals scored.

 

New England Black Wolves coach Glenn Clark

Obviously, tough game in Colorado. Great comeback to force overtime.
“Yeah it was. Actually, we started the game OK. Our second quarter, which hasn’t been good in both games that we’ve played, I don’t think, was what hurt us. We got behind going into the half, and then I think we had a strong second half. We only let in three goals. I think we outscored them seven to three. I think it was just a flipped script from the first half. We did play well, so there are positives you can take out of the second half of the game. But, as I always say to you guys, the margins of victory and defeat are so small. We had chances to win that game late and it didn’t go our way, much like a lot of the games we played in last year.”

 

What’s going on during the stretches throughout games where you’ve been outscored?

“There are lots of things that go on. You look at whether it’s time to pull the goalie and change momentum. You’re looking at how those goals are actually scored, whether it’s a breakdown on D. You’re constantly assessing plays and goals and specifics, discussing what the best course of action is. One thing I’ve learned over time is you don’t want to react too quickly, especially when you have a quality goaltender like Kirky. So I don’t think it was necessarily him struggling in the second quarter. I think we had some very definable breakdowns, but you give guys like that a chance to battle through it, and then he had a lock-down second half where he only let in three goals.”

 

As far as the power play, you gave up nine out of ten against Rochester. Did that get any better at all against Colorado?

“Yeah it did. They were two-for-six, so we didn’t take as many penalties, and percentage-wise we were better. We did kill off a portion of a five-on-three as well, which was a positive. It was better. Actually, the two goals they scored on the power play were off pretty definable mistakes. It wasn’t a systematic-type thing. One time we had a player chase a loose ball that he didn’t get to, and then subsequently, the man he left was the one who scored. It wasn’t a breakdown systematically. It was more of an individual error that went against what our principles are. Both goals they scored on their power play were very definable mistakes; we know what happened. It was an individual breakdown.”

 

With two straight losses to start the season, how crucial is it to get a win this week?

“Like I always say to you guys, every win is coveted. Every win is crucial. The heat gets turned up because you can’t afford to drop games. When you’ve already dropped two, dropping a third puts you in a larger hole. We’re a long way from do-or-die or the panic button, but you start getting more uncomfortable the longer it goes on and it wears on guys. You get to a point where confidence and momentum is a funny thing. You win a few and you think you’ll never lose, and then you lose a few and you start wondering about the next one. It’s important. You’ve got to temper it. You can’t overreact, you can’t underreact. It certainly is as important as any other game, and the more that you dig yourself in a hole, it starts to become crucial.”

 

Next Game: The Black Wolves return to Mohegan Sun Arena for their home opener on January 28th at 7 p.m against the Buffalo Bandits. For more details, visit www.blackwolves.com.