SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Swarm (1-1) will take on the Rochester Knighthawks (1-3) this Saturday, Feb. 4 on the road at Blue Cross Arena. Faceoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CT.
Minnesota played in Rochester this preseason, but fell to the Knighthawks in a high-scoring affair 19-15 on Dec. 17. Forward Ryan Benesch led the Swarm that evening with five goals, but Knighthawks F Cody Jamieson added a game-high six notches to lead his team to victory. Rochester holds the all-time regular season series lead between the two teams at 9-4, and has won the last four contests dating back to 2008.
“We know who their players are and that’s not going to change from the preseason,” coach Mike Lines said. “We’ll get a better idea of their tendencies by watching film of their last couple of regular season games.”
Minnesota picked up its first win in 2012 last Saturday during its home opener, knocking off the Buffalo Bandits 19-11 in front of 8,232 fans at Treasure Island Field. The Swarm’s 19 goals tied a franchise record and rookie G Tyler Carlson earned his first career victory in his NLL debut after stopping 39 of 50 shots.
“Tyler is going to make every save he should and a few that he shouldn’t,” forward Kevin Ross said, who was one of four players with a hat trick last Saturday. “The consistency that we’ve seen from him in training camp, practice and then getting his big game on Saturday is going to be great for us throughout the year.”
Transition players Andrew Suitor (Transition Player of the Week) and Jordan MacIntosh (Rookie of the Week) were recognized on Wednesday for their efforts in the Swarm’s victory. Suitor recorded a hat trick in only one half of play and MacIntosh collected a game-high 19 loose balls, won 17/29 faceoffs and recorded four points (1g, 3a). “It was important to get a win this early in the season to give our young guys some confidence,” Lines said.
Lines also noted that last weekend’s win can be credited to the team “playing a full 60 minutes” out on the floor. While Rochester enters Saturday’s game having lost three games in a row, Lines emphasized that it will take the same type of effort to defeat another tough opponent from the East Division.
“I think they’re a lot better than their record shows,” he said. “They’re a good team that has a good mix of veterans and young players.”
Rochester is led on offense by 2010 No.1 overall pick Cody Jamieson, who has a team-high 27 points (13g, 14a) this season. On the other side of the ball, G Matt Vinc is expected to start in net and is aided by 2011 NLL Defensive Player of the Year D Pat McCready.
“They’re (Rochester) similar to Buffalo in that they’re a strong, tough team, but they’re like us in that they’ve gone a bit younger this year,” Ross said. “It’s really going to take a full 60 minutes and we can expect a tough game.”
The Swarm will host a viewing party at Cork's Irish Pub in St. Paul at 6:30 p.m. this Saturday for fans interested in watching the game together. Fans can also watch Saturday’s content LIVE on the NLL Network by visiting http://new.livestream.com/minnesotaswarm. In addition, the game will air on Sportsradio 950 ESPN in the Rochester area and www.sportsradio950espn.com.
Minnesota returns home to Treasure Island Field at Xcel Energy Center for a doubleheader next weekend. The Swarm will first face off against the Edmonton Rush on Friday, Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m. for “Date Night at the Hive” and then battle the Knighthawks on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 2 p.m. for “Family/Dog Day at the Hive.” For the third straight season, fans can sit in the upper bowl with their dogs for only $10. Tickets are available by calling 1-888-MN-SWARM or by visiting mnswarm.com.