It’s December 14th, 2019 and the Philadelphia Wings are officially starting their 2019-2020 National Lacrosse League campaign. First, they visit the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth, Georgia. Their opponents, the Georgia Swarm, are undefeated this season with a 1-0 record. In their first win, the Swarm defeated the Rochester Knighthawks. Tonight, they host the Wings in their season opener.
Last time these two teams met, the Philadelphia Wings won on the road against the Georgia Swarm, 19-14. The NLL is a young league and that win against the Swarm was the first and only road win for the Wings in franchise history. This is a game that Georgia has had marked on their calendar since last season when Philadelphia closed the regular season with the remarkable victory. Tonight’s draw is the first of three during this regular season. The rivalry is rebooted!
On the Philadelphia Wings is former Georgia Swarm goalie, Zach Higgins. Another key addition was Brandon Miller, who came out of retirement to play for the Wings. Defensively, Philadelphia allowed 13.67 goals per game last season. With the goalies the Wings have on their roster, the goals per game average drop to just about 12 goals a game when comparing career trends. My prediction is that Higgins gets the start tonight against his former team.
Offensive firepower will be compelling and appealing tonight as the Philadelphia Wings and the Georgia Swarm have tons of it. Kevin Buchanan and Brett Hickey have previously scored 70 points in a season and they join Kevin Crowley and Kiel Matisz, who each scored 82 points a year ago. Compile those four players with Matt Rambo and Blaze Riorden, and the Wings have a dynamic team. The Swarm has brothers, Miles Thompson and Lyle Thompson, who were born on the same page. Georgia’s attack was ranked second last season while Philadelphia was ranked fourth.
After one game this season, the Georgia Swarm have taken 71 shots on goal, scoring 14, and have won 33.33% of their faceoffs. Lyle Thompson leads the Swarm in points with seven and goals with four. The playmaker for Georgia is Shayne Jackson, with four assists. Goalie, Mike Poulin, has a 1-0 record this season after recording 36 saves against the Rochester Knighthawks. Tonight’s faceoff takes place at 7 pm from the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth, Georgia and can be seen on Bleacher Report Live and NLL Live.
Photo: Alex Mcintyre