Game Preview: Storm vs. New Orleans

May 26, 2015 Tampa Bay Storm

The Tampa Bay Storm (3-5, 1-1) hosts the New Orleans VooDoo (2-7, 0-3) this Saturday, May 30, at AMALIE Arena on “Country Night.” A win for the Storm will break a two-game losing streak and put the team back in contention for the South Division. The game will be televised on Bright House Sports Network. Fans will also be able to listen on 1250 AM WHNZ or on the Lightning Power Play which can be found on the iHeartRadio app or The game will also be streamed on ESPN3. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. EST.

This will be the second game of the 2015 season between these two teams and the eleventh in Tampa overall. The Storm leads the series with a record of 13-6; the Storm also holds a winning record of 8-2 at home. The Storm has won five straight games at home when facing New Orleans, with its last home loss on July 1, 2011, when it fell to the VooDoo by a score of 64-33.  

The last time these two teams met, it was a one-sided affair, with the Storm defense dominating, leading the way to a 42-13 victory. Tampa Bay shutout the VooDoo in the second half, holding New Orleans to just three total points in three quarters. The performance solidified the Storm as a top-five defense in the League.

However, Tampa Bay is going to have to come out strong and will not be able to take New Orleans lightly. The VooDoo is a hungry team that is on a three-game losing streak. Look for the Storm offense, led by quarterback Jason Boltus, to come out fast, looking to score on every drive. Storm rookie Julius Gregory is starting to prove he can be one of the top receivers in the League. He has a touchdown in four consecutive games, and six scores on the season. Look for Boltus to get Gregory going early, along with his fellow receivers.  

While the Storm faced the VooDoo earlier in the season, it will meet a different VooDoo team. With former quarterback Adam Kennedy placed on injured reserve, New Orleans has handed the ball over to third year veteran Brian Reader. Since Reader has taken over, the VooDoo has shown more consistency on the offensive side of the ball. In last week’s 70-41 loss to the Jacksonville Sharks, Reader completed 21-of-37 passes for 278 yards and six touchdowns.  

If New Orleans is to succeed, it must protect Reader at all costs. The Sharks sacked him three times last week, and the pressure forced him to throw two interceptions. Look for the Storm defense to apply the pressure on the New Orleans offensive line, a group that has allowed 20 sacks on the season. The defensive line, led by Richard Clebert, has now recorded a sack in seven consecutive games.

With the team looking for a rebound after a devastating loss to Philadelphia last week, the Storm will need to play a perfect game. The VooDoo has improved since their last meeting and will be just as hungry to break its current losing streak.