Photo Credit: Adam Borgstahl
ROCHESTER, NY. – Despite holding a 9-6 lead at halftime, the Minnesota Swarm (1-2) could not overcome a second half surge from the Rochester Knighthawks (2-3) on Saturday night, and fell 16-14 at The Blue Cross Arena.
Forward Ryan Benesch led the Swarm with seven points (4g, 3a) and rookie T Jordan MacIntosh (3g, 1a) recorded his first career hat trick in the loss. In his second career start, rookie G Tyler Carlson (1-1) once again put forth a valid effort in net, stopping 38 of 54 shots and held the Knighthawks to six goals in the first half.
Saturday was a homecoming of sorts for MacIntosh, who played his college ball at RIT, which is located only minutes away from The Blue Cross Arena. MacIntosh posted all three of his goals in the first half and fellow rookie F Corbyn Tao (2g) added his two tallies in the second quarter. Tao’s score with 1:14 to go in the first half gave Minnesota its largest lead of the night at 9-6.
Rochester came out charging in the second half, notching two quick goals in the first minute of play and narrowed the Swarm’s lead to 9-8. Rookie F Jay Card (1g, 1a) and Benesch followed Rochester’s run with tallies of their own to extend Minnesota’s lead back to three at 11-8 midway through the third. At that point, Minnesota looked to be on track to record its second win of the season. The Knighthawks thought otherwise however and finished the third quarter on a 3-0 run. Rochester F Cody Jamieson (3g, 6a) tied the game with 1:13 to play in the third on a power play goal to even the score at 11-11.
Knighthawks F Cory Vitarelli (4g, 3a) then beat Carlson at the 13:31 mark in the fourth to give Rochester its first lead of the night at 12-11. Minnesota didn’t panic as Benesch and F Kevin Ross (1g, 2a) responded with goals that were separated by just 26 seconds three minutes later to put the Swarm back on top 13-12.
Unfortunately for the Swarm, Rochester used another 3-0 run to build a 15-13 lead with 5:20 to play. Forward Jamie Shewchuk (2g, 4a) managed to pull the Swarm back within one after a nice hustle play, where he collected his own miss and then found the back of the net after the ball returned to his stick a few passes later.
Needing another score to tie things up, Minnesota was penalized for having too many men on the field with just over three minutes remaining. That penalty would cost the Swarm as T Jordan Hall (1g, 3a) gave Rochester a 16-14 advantage on a power play goal with 2:35 to play. In the end, Rochester’s power play was the Swarm’s Achilles’ heel all evening long. The Knighthawks finished the game 5-for-6 on power plays, with four of those goals coming in the second half.
Minnesota got off to a fast start in the first quarter due to some flashy passing. Forward Callum Crawford (1g, 4a) found Benesch on beautiful give-and-go to give the Swarm a 3-2 lead midway into the quarter. Moments later, Crawford was this time on the receiving end of nice pass from T Andrew Suitor (2a) and snuck one past Knighthawks G Matt Vinc (2-3). The Swarm led 4-3 at the end of the first.
Benesch, the league’s defending scoring champ, leads the Swarm with 10 goals this season and has recorded at least a hat trick in all three of the Swarm’s games this year. Crawford’s four assists bumped his team-high total to 16 in 2012.
The Swarm 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.