HIVE FIVE: Swarm at Mammoth Preview

Yoink | Photo Credit: Kyle Hess

by Ty Merrow
Saturday’s loss to the Bandits was a bitter pill to swallow. But, as is the hope with ingesting such a panacea, the Georgia Swarm should become better for it, quickly learning the lessons from last Saturday and internalizing them for the next game ahead.

We’ll see how well those lessons took hold this Saturday, Feb. 16 as the Swarm travel west. For the first and only time this season, they’ll take on the Colorado Mammoth in Pepsi Center and – wait, hold up. Pepsi Center? Against the Mammoth?

OH LORD

Let’s get the bad history out of the way quickly.

Since moving to Georgia, the Swarm are 2-4 against the Mammoth, despite outscoring Colorado 84-78 across those six games. When the Swarm wins, they usually do so by large margins (21-13 on April 1, 2017 and 17-10 on April 10, 2016). In their losses, the Swarm were outscored 46-55, which means the Swarm were pretty close in those four games.

But wait, there’s (unfortunately) more. The Swarm have a bad track record in Pepsi Center against the Mammoth. In their three games since 2016, the Swarm have lost all of them.

If you go back looking for a Swarm victory in Denver, then you’ll be looking for a while. The last one was on April 13, 2013. Jordan MacIntoshShayne Jackson and Alex Crepinsek are the only players from that roster nearly six years ago that are still on the Swarm’s present day roster.

There’s not really a good reason for it near as I can tell. It just seems to be one of those sports things, much like how whenever the Swarm play the Mammoth…

LYLE THOMPSON IS GOING TO GO OFF

Granted, the Swarm are 2-4 against the Mammoth since Lyle started playing in the NLL. But for the 2017 NLL MVP, he plays some consistently great lacrosse against the West Division team.

Scoring in style | Photo Credit: Kyle Hess

 

In those six games, Lyle has recorded 41 points (20G, 21A), has 37 loose balls, four caused turnovers, and 75 shots, 55 of which were on goal. With a 26.67 S%, Lyle is hitting the back of the net at a crazy clip.

If you think his numbers are buoyed by the two wins, that’s not entirely correct. He recorded 16 points (7G, 9A) across those two games, meaning that in the four Swarm losses, Lyle has 25 points (13G, 12A). That complements his 23 loose balls, four caused turnovers and 52 shots for an even 25.00 S%.

Considering that Lyle has found the back of the net in every game this season, has 28 goals so far and a shooting percentage sitting at 21.37%, it would be foolish to bet against him scoring. But fools do exist, and there are some that may have read that first Quick Sting and decided the game was Colorado’s by right and nature given the history in Denver between the two teams. And believing that ignores…

THE PRESENT

The Mammoth are seven games into their 2018-19 season, but it’s fair to say the season has not gone as expected. They are currently last in the West Division with a 2-5 record and are only 1-3 at home.

The Mammoth have a -4 goal differential in Pepsi Center and are averaging 10.50 GF/GAME and 11.50 GA/GAME. They score on 37.5% of home power play opportunities while stopping 58.3% of opponents’ chances (the Swarm cash in on 68.4% on road power plays and stop 44.4% of opposing teams when on the penalty kill).

Before getting on the road for the last three games, the Mammoth did best Calgary 12-7 at home. But that was nearly a month ago. They’ve gone 1-2 since, and that lone win did come last weekend against the Philadelphia Wings. Given how Colorado still sits last in the West Division, don’t expect them to not come in playing with urgency and trying to get that third win to stay alive in the race to the playoffs. They will need consistency going forward, the same consistency the Swarm has been getting from…

JASON NOBLE

 

Saturday is a special career marker for the Cornell University product. Jason Noble will be playing in his 100th career NLL regular season game (coincidentally against his brother, Mammoth forward Jeremy Noble). Getting to 100 games is an awesome feat, especially considering he’s played in every Swarm game for the last six seasons except for one.

It’s especially gratifying considering Noble might be turning in arguably the best season of his career:

Noble’s Career Stats
Year GP G A PTS PIM LB TO CT
2019 10 0 1 1 6 34 1 14
2018 18 0 5 5 22 48 4 8
2017 18 1 4 5 35 57 10 11
2016 18 1 5 6 39 71 10 9
2015 18 1 3 4 36 61 4 17
2014 17 0 1 1 10 71 11 24

It’s hard to judge how well a defenseman does when riding the box score, but unfortunately, I can’t show you EVERYTHING that Noble does right on the floor in just a Quick Sting (this Film Room should help in the meantime). But four key stats pop out looking at this: penalty minutes, loose balls, turnovers and caused turnovers.

(Why aren’t we talking about points? Because Noble’s a pure defender. He could never score again, and that would be alright. The man is out there to shut opponents down. Any scoring is icing on the cake.)

Break up those stats into their per game totals for so far this season. We end up with .6 PIM/GAME, 3.4 LB/GAME, .1 TO/GAME, and 1.4 CT/GAME. Multiply that out a full season and round the results accordingly, and we get 11 penalty minutes, 61 loose balls, two turnovers, and 25 caused turnovers.

The 11 PIM would be Noble’s lowest since his rookie season, the 61 LB matches his 2015 numbers, the two TO would be his lowest ever, and the 25 CT would become a new career-high.

And at a basic level, that’s what you want from your defender. You want him to play great on the floor, stay out of the box, get the ball back and not turn it over. In his rookie year, Noble caused 24 turnovers, but he also turned the ball over 11 times. Compare that to the pace he has now of 25 CT to go with just two TO. Noble this season is getting the ball back and making sure it doesn’t leave his stick unless he wants it to.

So kudos to Noble for reaching 100 career regular season games, and kudos on the great season he’s turned in so far. Let’s give the man a break as a reward. Let’s give the whole Swarm team a break as we finally come to the end of their…

10 GAMES IN 8 WEEKS

It’ll finally be over. 10 straight games in eight weeks, two doubleheaders sandwiched in there. 51 days of grind grind grind. I didn’t even play and I’m exhausted.

It’s the perfect opportunity for the men in blue and yellow. They can go to the Mile High City and leave it all out on the floor against the Mammoth, empty the gas tank before taking a very well-deserved rest.

The Swarm have done an excellent job so far this season. I know last weekend’s loss to the Bandits was painful, but the Swarm are still 7-3 and do not have any major injuries despite the recent stretch of games. That’s borderline miraculous.

For a deep run in the postseason, managing a team’s health and making sure you still get the W’s is important during the regular season. The Swarm are in an excellent position right now, so let’s enjoy it for what it is: good, unselfish Swarm lacrosse where everyone is in good shape and the team is one of the top teams in the NLL.

It’s a good place to be.

Enjoy yourselves | Photo Credit: Kyle Hess

 


The Swarm return to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino at Infinite Energy Arena on Saturday, March 2 to take on the Rochester Knighthawks. Faceoff is set for 7:05 p.m. ET. The Swarm are hosting Heroes Night presented by Axiom Corporation. Celebrate local military and first responders during the Swarm’s East Division matchup. Early arriving fans can receive a Swarm Koozie courtesy of Axiom Corporation.

Call 844-4-GASWARM or visit GeorgiaSwarm.com/HeroesNight for tickets.

Interested in helping support our heroes and their families? Participate in our Seats for Heroes program, offering four different packages which provide heroes and their families the opportunity to attend Heroes Night! Visit GeorgiaSwarm.com/SeatsForHeroes or call 844-4-GASWARM for more information.

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