Game Preview: Storm at New Orleans

Jul 14, 2015 Tampa Bay Storm

The Tampa Bay Storm (6-8, 2-2) heads to New Orleans to take on the VooDoo (2-12, 0-5) this Saturday, July 18 at Smoothie King Center. A win for the Storm will break a two-game losing streak and give the team a three-game sweep of the VooDoo. Fans can listen to Jack Harris and Darek Sharp make the call for 1250 AM WHNZ and also listen live on the Lightning Power Play which can be found on the iHeartRadio app or TBLPowerPlay.com. Kickoff is set for 8:00 p.m. EST.

This weekend’s contest will be the 21st meeting between the two franchises. It will also be the tenth meeting in New Orleans, with the Storm holding a 5-4 record when away from Amalie Arena. VooDoo head coach Dean Cokinos has faced the Storm eight times previously and holds a 3-5 overall record when coaching against Tampa Bay. Over the course of the 20-game series, the Storm has outscored the VooDoo by a margin of 88 points.

After suffering a disappointing and controversial defeat at the hands of the Orlando Predators, the Storm will turn to New Orleans to get back on track. The Storm is currently riding a four-game win streak against the VooDoo, and have won the previous two matchups from earlier in the season. However, the Storm cannot take the VooDoo lightly. While the team is just 2-12, it has put up competitive performances, which could make it tough for the Storm to complete the three-game season sweep.

If it wants to succeed, the Storm will have to succeed in all phases of the game; something the team did when facing Orlando this past weekend. Two players to look for are Kendrick Ings and Julius Gregory. Both receivers have entered Rookie of the Year contention and have a knack for making big plays when they matter most. Quarterback Jason Boltus will look to get these two started early, while also relying on veteran receivers T.T. Toliver and Emery Sammons. Toliver had another stellar performance versus Orlando, catching 10 passes for 174 yards and four touchdowns. Sammons has also proven to be a reliable deep threat, averaging 14.3 yards per catch (5th in the League), with his longest a 47-yard touchdown.

Defensively, the Storm will look to keep the VooDoo offense out of the red zone. While the team has one of the top red zone defenses in the League, limiting teams to scoring on just 75.8% of their red zone opportunities, the VooDoo has the number one red zone offense in the League. New Orleans scores on 85.1% of its red zone chances, scoring 36 touchdowns.

Look for the Storm to come out with a fury after dropping its last game versus the Predators. A win, coupled with a Jacksonville Sharks loss, will put the team back in contention for the playoffs. There is much at stake as the team heads into its final four games of the season.