The Tampa Bay Storm (1-2, 0-0) will look to get back to its winning ways when it hosts the New Orleans VooDoo (1-2, 0-1) on “Dawg Night” this Friday, April 17 at AMALIE Arena. Fans will be able to listen to the game on 1250 AM WHNZ or on the Lightning Power Power Play which can be found on the iHeartRadio app or TBLPowerPlay.com. In addition, fans can watch the game live on the WatchESPN app. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. EST.
This will be the 19th meeting between the Storm and VooDoo franchise, and tenth in Tampa. The Storm holds an overall winning record of 12-6, with a home record of 7-2 when hosting New Orleans. The VooDoo enters the game on a two-game losing streak versus Tampa, with the Storm winning the past 4-of-5 matchups. The last time the Storm faced New Orleans at home, the team won by a score of 62-57.
The Storm enters the week after falling to the San Jose SaberCats by a score of 36-27. In a game that saw the defense come alive, the team could not muster much firepower on the offensive end, scoring just 27 points. Look for the team to correct the mistakes that plagued it this past Friday. With an emphasis on protecting the quarterback, the offensive line will try and rebound against New Orleans, looking to give Storm quarterback Jason Boltus enough time to find his receivers.
Last week’s contest was not without some positives though. Storm wide receiver T.T. Toliver made it into the history books, recording his 1,000th career reception, finishing the night with 1,004 putting him in a tie with Chris Jackson. Also, wide receiver Kendrick Ings started to come into his own, reeling in eight passes for 100 yards and three touchdowns. He led all receivers in all receiving categories. Ings now leads the League in all purpose yards with 539 and is third in kickoff return yards with 308. Look for Boltus to spread the ball to both Toliver and Ings, along with the rest of the receiving corps.
Defensively, the Storm will continue to apply the pressure on opposing teams. Last week the team held a fourth ranked scoring offense, averaging 56.5 points per game, to just 36 points. This was accomplished with the improved play of the defensive line and backfield. The team has now recorded a sack in two consecutive games, with nose guard Richard Clebert leading the team with two of his own.
New Orleans comes to Tampa riding a two-game losing streak and looking to right the ship. Offensively the team will be led by quarterback Adam Kennedy. Kennedy has completed 60-of-93 passes for 716 yards and 13 touchdowns to go with two interceptions. He will be looking for his top receiver Chris Duvalt, who finds himself with 21 catches for 242 yards and six touchdowns on the season.
Defensively, the VooDoo has one of the most talented defenses in the League, with three all-arena players in Tracy Belton, Cameron McGlenn and Rayshaun Kizer, patrolling the backfield. The three have combined for 35.5 tackles to go along with 10 pass breakups. Last week, trailing by just four points in the fourth quarter to the Orlando Predators, the defense forced a critical turnover on downs; however the team failed to capitalize, losing by a score of 47-42.
This Friday, look for both teams to correct the mistakes from last week. The Storm and VooDoo will pull out all of the stops in order to get back to a .500 record.