June 8, 2017 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Georgia Swarm
(DULUTH, Ga.) - One victory away from its first Champion's Cup series win in franchise history, the Georgia Swarm (16-5) flies to hostile territory to take on the Saskatchewan Rush (14-7) this Saturday, June 10. Faceoff is set for 9:30 p.m. ET at SaskTel Centre, and fans can catch Game 2 LIVE via Twitter.
Game 1 of the best-of-three Champion's Cup series featured a come-from-behind victory for Georgia via a seven-goal run and featured a halftime performance from Atlanta-based, three-time GRAMMY© Award winning artist Ludacris. Emerging on top 18-14 that night, the Swarm quickly moved on from the victory and began preparing for the toughest game of the season so far.
"I think any game playing in Saskatchewan against the Rush in front of 15,000 people is going to be a hard game," head coach Ed Comeau said. "Knowing what's at stake for both us and them, the intensity is going to be extremely high, and the stakes are up for both teams ... We're going to go and try and do what we do and play Swarm lacrosse."
Saskatchewan will be leaving everything on the floor this Saturday to keep its hopes of a three-peat alive. The team will be led by Mark Matthews and Robert Church offensively. Matthews scored seven points (3G, 4A) Sunday night and leads the league this postseason with 22 points (7G, 15A). Church also put up seven points (2G, 5A) on Sunday and is second in the league this postseason with 20 points (6G, 14A).
The Rush will need a better performance from goaltender Aaron Bold. He held the Colorado Mammoth to only 19 goals in the entirety of the West Division Finals, but the Swarm stung him 17 times (along with one empty netter), and he finished Sunday night with a GAA of 17 and a .679 SV%.
Georgia's 18 goals last Sunday are the most scored in any Champion's Cup game since the Toronto Rock scored 19 goals against the Arizona Sting back in 2005.
Jordan Hall exploded offensively Sunday night, recording eight points (5G, 3A) and sparking the seven-goal run Georgia went on in the third quarter. Assistant captain Shayne Jackson was good for six points (2G, 4A) and is tied with Randy Staats and Saskatchewan's Adam Jones for fourth in the NLL postseason with 15 points. Lyle Thompson, Kiel Matisz, Johnny Powless, and Staats all finished Sunday night with five points apiece.
"We're not relying on any one player to go and score five goals," Comeau said. "Anyone can do that for us, but we're not expecting it to happen from one player. Being able to do that is a great thing for us, and it makes it tough for defenses to play against us because our offense doesn't run through one player. It runs through every player."
Mike Poulin has been phenomenal between the pipes this postseason. He allowed 14 goals on 50 shots Sunday (a 14 GAA and a .720 SV%) but leads the league in the postseason with 117 saves. Poulin has a 10.33 GAA and a .791 SV% in 180:00 min. of postseason play.
The magnitude of Sunday's game is not lost upon anyone, but a measured Swarm refuses to get ahead of itself. Comeau's squad is keeping the blinders on and taking the same approach the group has taken all season on the way to Game 2 of the Champion's Cup series.
"We're not really worried about what game it is," Comeau said. "We're just worried about our next game and our next shift."
If needed, Game 3 will take place back at The Hive on Sunday, June 18. Faceoff will be set for 5:05 p.m. ET at Harrah's Cherokee Casino Field at Infinite Energy Arena. Tickets will be available by calling 844-4-GASWARM or by visiting GeorgiaSwarm.com/Playoff. The game will also be streamed LIVE on Twitter.