Photo Credit: Michael Martin Photography
Denver, Colo. – The Minnesota Swarm (0-1) came up short in its season opener on Saturday night, falling 20-14 to the Colorado Mammoth (1-0) at Pepsi Center. The loss snapped the Swarm’s five-game winning streak against Colorado.
Callum Crawford (4g, 5a) and Ryan Benesch (3g, 4a) led the way for Minnesota in the defeat; the two managed to score or assist on all but three of the team’s 14 goals on Saturday. Now entering their third season together in Minnesota, the duo looks prepared to once again anchor the Swarm’s offense in 2012.
Both teams played an even, back-and-forth contest in the first half and headed into their respective locker rooms tied at 7-7. Colorado however changed the complexity of the game when it opened the 3rd Quarter on a 5-1 run. The Mammoth’s quick start in the second half prompted coach Mike Lines to call a timeout to regroup. The timeout worked and stopped the bleeding momentarily, as Crawford and Benesch each added goals to get the Swarm within two at 12-10.
The Swarm kept chipping away and cut the Mammoth’s lead to 14-13 with 11:03 to go in the 4th. Colorado though would use six goals from as many players to end the game on a 6-1 run. Crawford tallied the Swarm’s final goal on a penalty shot with 1:42 to play, but there was little to celebrate about at that point.
Forward John Grant Jr. led the way for Colorado and posted a game-high 11 points (4g, 7a). Forwards Jamie Lincoln (3g), Adam Jones (3g, 3a), and Gavin Prout (3g, 6a) all recorded hat tricks for the Mammoth.
Ten players – six of which were rookies - made their Swarm debuts on Saturday. The Swarm’s first round draft pick (4th overall) Jordan MacIntosh (1g, 3a) started his career off on a strong note after he notched the game’s opening goal on a power play. He also won 27/37 faceoffs. Rookie right-handed forwards Corbyn Tao (1g, 1a) and Jay Card (1g, 1a) also found the back of the net and second-year D Brendon Doran (1g) scored his first goal as a member of the Swarm on a nice unassisted transition opportunity early on in the 4th Quarter.
Second-year T Andrew Suitor was named the Swarm’s Captain shortly before Saturday’s contest and finished the game with one goal and a team-high 13 loose balls.
Goalie Nick Patterson (0-1) picked up the loss for Minnesota after allowing 20 goals on 50 shots, while Mammoth G Chris Levis (1-0) tallied the win after recording 41 saves on 55 shots.
Minnesota managed to outshoot Colorado 55-50 and won the battle in the loose ball category, scooping up 68, compared to Colorado’s 48. Both teams were effective on the power play; Minnesota finished 4-for-7, while Colorado ended 4-for-6.
The Mammoth reported a crowd of 14,106 fans on Saturday night. Minnesota and Colorado will battle two more times this season and both meetings (Feb. 18, April 28) will take place on Treasure Island Field at Xcel Energy Center. The April 28th contest will air on national television on CBS Sports Network at 6:30 p.m. CT.
Minnesota hosts the Buffalo Bandits on Treasure Island Field at Xcel Energy Center for its home opener on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. CT. The Swarm will celebrate Native American Heritage Night, which is sponsored by Treasure Island Resort & Casino, and will recognize local tribal communities as well as feature a traditional lacrosse match during halftime.
Tickets start as low as $20 and can be purchased by calling 1-888-MN-SWARM or visiting mnswarm.com. Swarm fans looking to lock up season tickets in 2012 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.
Buffalo adds another one as Steenhuis finds room down the wing, putting the Bandits up 11-9 late in this one.
Buffalo goal- Dhane Smith busts out in transition and beats Higgins on a breakaway. Buffalo takes their first lead 10-9 under 4 remaining