The road victory gives the Swarm their fourth win in five games
Denver – Before Saturday night’s game, the National Lacrosse League’s (NLL) Minnesota Swarm (7-8) coaching stafmade it clear that they wanted to grab their second road win of the season to solidify their playoff chances.
“In order to control our own destiny and get into the playoffs we need to take matters into our own hands and get a win this weekend,” head coach Joe Sullivan said.
That’s exactly what Minnesota did at Denver’s Pepsi Center, beating the Colorado Mammoth (6-9) 17-12 to break a West Division deadlock and clinch a spot in the playoffs. The Swarm has now advanced to the postseason for four-straight years, and for the seventh time in nine seasons.
Saturday night it all began with great team defense behind the stellar play of Tyler Carlson. The second-year goaltender made 35 saves in the game to grab his fourth win of the season. Carlson made a spectacular save in the middle of the fourth quarter, blocking a breakaway shot and then deftly diving into the net to stop the ball from ricocheting in. Heading into the game, Carlson’s goals allowed average was 10.39 – second-best in the NLL.
One of the best ways to measure defensive effort is through loose ball totals. As a team, Minnesota recorded 67 on the night to Colorado’s 36.
“Everybody says we’re young and athletic and we are,” Sullivan said. “That shows in us being able to track balls down, get hungry, and do the dirty work in a very important game.”
One of those hard-working players was David Earl, who scooped up seven loose balls, forced a turnover and did a lot of other things that don’t get recorded on the stat sheet.
“Dave’s ability to track the ball down, transition the ball up the floor and find the offensive player is one of those unsung things that doesn’t get rewarded on the stat sheet,” Sullivan said. “It’s something that is definitely noticed by our club.”
After starting the year with a 3-7 record, the Swarm set a goal of finishing the season at .500. At the time the objective seemed daunting, but the team has come together and is now just one win away from the accomplishment.
“It seemed like a heck of a mountain to climb back when we were 3-7,” Sullivan said. “Our players have put themselves in the position to do that at home against a really tough Colorado team. It’s going to be a battle, but it’s very important for our guys to get to that goal.”
After winning in Colorado Saturday night, the Swarm look to best the Mammoth in consecutive weeks as the franchises will meet Saturday April 20 on Treasure Island Field at Xcel Energy Center. The matchup will be the final regular season game for both teams.
Jordan MacIntosh has been on an absolute tear as of late. MacIntosh recorded six points (5g, 1a) and has now scored five goals in two out of the last three games. The RIT product scooped up a game-high 12 loose balls and won 70% of his face-offs. Behind MacIntosh, Minnesota had a commanding advantage in face-offs winning 23 out of 32. The Swarm transition player has amassed a league-high four Transition Player of the Week awards this season.
Minnesota has won four of its last five games and much of that success can be attributed to the efforts of Callum Crawford. The Swarm captain has recorded at least eight points in six-straight contests and is now third in the NLL in scoring with 89 points after posting a hat trick to go along with six assists Saturday night.
“It’s good to be in the playoffs, that’s the goal at the start of every year,” Crawford said. “We’re not done, we want to win next week, prove that we’re not a 7-9 team. We want to make a statement and win one more to keep it going into the playoffs.”
Rookie Kiel Matisz chipped in with five points (2g, 3a) Saturday night to set the franchise record for most goals scored in a rookie season at 28. The mark was previously held by Craig Point, who found the back of the net 27 times in 2008. Point also holds the Swarm rookie record for points in a season with 61. Both Matisz and Shayne Jackson have 60 points heading into the final game of the regular season.
Another rookie made noise on the night as well, Brock Sorensen. The transition player scored multiple goals in a single game for the first time in his NLL career. Sorensen, Matisz and Jackson were selected consecutively in the first round of the 2012 NLL Entry Draft.
“For the last three games I’ve noticed Brock continuously get better and better,” Sullivan said. “That’s why he was drafted as high as he was and I look for him to do those kinds of things on a consistent basis.”
Ryan Benesch was a steady contributor with six points (1g, 5a).
Mitch Belisle scored his first goal of the season in the fourth quarter to ice the game.
Single Game Tickets start as low as $21 for all eight home games in 2013. For purchasing information on both Season and Single Game Tickets, fans can call 1-888-MN-SWARM or visit mnswarm.com
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MINNESOTA SWARM’S FOURTH ANNUAL ‘HIVE CARES NIGHT’ IS THIS SATURDAY; TEAM WILL WEAR ST. PATRICK’S DAY-THEMED JERSEYS
The Swarm has raised $36,000 over the past two seasons for the Randy Shaver Cancer Research & Community Fund
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Swarm will host its fourth annual Hive Cares Night on Saturday, March 16 on Treasure Island Field at Xcel Energy Center in part of a league-wide effort to raise money and increase awareness for cancer research.
In addition, Swarm players will wear commemorative St. Patrick’s Day-themed jerseys when they take on the Washington Stealth at 7 p.m. CT. Fans can bid on the game-worn green jerseys and shorts by visitingauctions.mnswarm.com and all proceeds from the auction -- as well as from Hive Cares Night – will benefit the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund.
“We are honored to be working with the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund again this year for the Hive Cares game,” said Matt McCormack, Director of Marketing for the Swarm. “The support and generosity shown by Swarm fans each year is truly moving, and I’m confident that we will surpass our goal of $30,000 this season. Having been able to meet the people that benefit from the good work the Randy Shaver Fund is doing for Minnesota’s Cancer Community, it excites me to know that The Hive truly does care. It also reinforces that Swarm fans are the best in the Twin Cities and the National Lacrosse League."
In 2010, the NLL launched its first Black Out Cancer campaign to raise money and increase awareness of the disease. Each NLL franchise hosts a cancer awareness event during one home game in 2013.
For the third straight season, the Swarm has partnered with the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund, an organization that supports the cancer community in Minnesota by funding research, prevention, treatment and other programs relating to the cancer community. The Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund has very low administrative costs, enabling over 90-percent of the generated funds to go directly to local charities in Minnesota.
Over the past two seasons, the Swarm has helped raise over $36,000 for the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund, which makes the Swarm one of the fund’s top partners. This year’s goal is to raise over $30,000.
"We are very excited to partner with the generous Minnesota Swarm organization and raise needed money for cancer research and patient aid in Minnesota,” Kare-11 News Anchor Randy Shaver said. “When they say the "Hive Cares" it's not a slogan, it's the truth."
Swarm players have also taken the initiative to help raise money for Hive Cares Night; Tyler Carlson will sport a custom-made Hive Cares goalie helmet this Saturday (photo attached), which is currently available for bidding on auctions.mnswarm.com
“I have always wanted to give back through the sport, and I was thinking that a helmet would be a great way to raise money,” Carlson said. “I know there are people out there that would want a helmet of a NLL goaltender, and the money raised from this will go toward a great cause.”
To help support Hive Cares Night, fans can get involved in a number of ways:
Benesch surpassed 300 career points with the Swarm; Crawford finished with a personal record of 10 points
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The National Lacrosse League’s (NLL) Minnesota Swarm (3-7) fell on the road 19-15 to the Calgary Roughnecks (6-5) Friday night in a back-and-forth scoring matchup. While the Swarm held an early 3-2 lead, Calgary scored five unanswered goals in the second quarter to break open the game. Minnesota pulled the lead to within just four goals several times throughout the second half, but the strong Roughneck second quarter effort proved to be the difference.
“We’re trying to shape our lineup as best as we can right now,” said Swarm associate general manager and head coach Joe Sullivan. “When our offense puts up 15 points and we still lose that’s not acceptable. We talked about that after the game and now it’s time to put those words to work.”
Although Minnesota lost the divisional tilt, it was still a night to remember for two of the team’s seasoned veterans. Ryan Benesch had a career game, scoring four goals to go along with three assists to reach more than 300 points in a Swarm uniform. The Kitchener, Ontario native is the third player in franchise history to reach the milestone and is the first lefty.
Callum Crawford was Minnesota’s leading scorer on the night, amassing 10 points (3g, 7a). That is a personal record for Crawford, who is the team’s acting captain after Andrew Suitor went down with a season-ending knee injury last month. The Ottawa, Ontario native is now only two assists away from the Swarm record of 200, set by former player Sean Pollock.
Even with the career efforts from Swarm veterans, rookies Kiel Matisz and Shayne Jackson contributed on the offensive end as well – just as they have done all season. Matisz finished with six points (2g, 4a) followed by Jackson’s five point night (1g, 4a). Both first round draft picks have been named NLL Rookie of the Week (Matisz a league-best three times) and are among the rookie leaders in points.
Another Swarm first-year made an impact in the game as well. Rookie Matt Gibson played in his second career NLL game and recorded his first assist as a member of the Swarm on a third quarter feed to Crawford.
Forward Joel Henry chipped in with two goals for Minnesota to tie his career-high. Henry has scored twice in his last three games against the Roughnecks. The Swarm forward is a native of Cochrane, Alberta, located fewer than fifty miles from Calgary.
Leading the Roughnecks in scoring were Dane Dobbie with 10 points (6g, 4a) and Shawn Evans (1g, 7a).
Swarm fans looking to lock up 2013 Season Tickets can take advantage of a Buy 2, Get 2 at 50% offer. By purchasing two season tickets at full price, fans can add an additional two tickets for half the cost. Single Game Tickets start as low as $21 for all remaining home games in 2013. For purchasing information on both Season and Single Game Tickets, fans can call 1-888-MN-SWARM or visit mnswarm.com