Storm set to face Gladiators in home finale

Jul 18, 2017 Tampa Bay Storm

TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Storm (9-3) will host the Cleveland Gladiators (4-8) on “Fan Appreciation Night,” presented by Florida Hospital, at AMALIE Arena this Saturday, July 22nd.  The Storm will be looking to earn its 10th win of the season and sixth at home.  The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.  Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. ET.

This will be the 24th meeting between Tampa Bay and Cleveland, and 15th at home.  While Cleveland leads the series 12-11, the Storm holds a winning record of 8-6 at home.  The Storm has faced a Ron Selesky-led team a total of four times, holding a winning record of 3-1.

Last time out, the Gladiators defeated the Storm by a score of 41-39 in Cleveland. Down by 21 to start the fourth quarter, Tampa Bay made a furious comeback and scored 19 unanswered points within the final five minutes of regulation, but failed to convert a two-point conversion to tie the game.  The team would use the loss as motivation, and bounced back this past weekend versus the Baltimore Brigade, handing the team a 69-56 loss.

The Storm played what would be its most complete game of the season versus the Brigade in week 15.  The team was highly efficient, scoring 51 points on just 28 offensive plays.  The game also saw the Storm return three kickoffs for touchdowns (Michael Lindsey – 57 yards; Kendrick Ings – 55 yards and 58 yards), two of which were back-to-back in the second quarter. 

Ings would finish the night with three kick returns for 128 yards and two touchdowns to go along with four catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns.  The two-year veteran had 243 all-purpose yards; his third performance with over 200 yards this season.  The all-arena candidate now holds three of the top-4 all-purpose performances (346, 287, 243) on the season.

The night also saw history, as wide receiver Joe Hills caught a receiving touchdown in his 79th consecutive game played, breaking Damian Harrell’s League record of 78.  Hills ended the night with eight catches for 73 yards and three touchdowns.

The key for the Storm is to come out of the gate fast and not take its foot off the gas pedal.  The defense will have to take advantage of mistakes and push Gladiators quarterback Arvell Nelson off his mark.  This is no easy task as Nelson is a dual-threat that can hurt a team through the air and on the ground.  Last time out, Nelson completed 18-of-27 passes for 230 yards and four touchdowns while adding a score on the ground.

The matchup between these two teams should be a great one.  It will be the season series finale and both teams will be looking to win as the end of the season draws closer.