Callum Crawford #98
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – For the first time since 2008, the Minnesota Swarm will take part in a home doubleheader this weekend on Treasure Island Field at Xcel Energy Center. First up on the schedule for the Swarm is a meeting with division rival Edmonton (1-2) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. for Date Night at the Hive. Minnesota then gets the chance to avenge last weekend’s 16-14 road loss to the Rochester Knighthawks (2-3) on Sunday at 2 p.m. during Dog Day at the Hive.
With an opportunity to pick up two wins at home, Minnesota will look to utilize its top ranked offense (15.67 GPG) in attempt to post its first winning streak in 2012.
“This doubleheader is a good thing to have,” coach Mike Lines said. “It’s nice for everyone to be able to get back together in Minnesota for four days; it’s good bonding time and we will also be able to get a couple of solid practices in.”
Earlier this week, four Swarm players were selected to the 2012 NLL All-Star Game. Team captain T Andrew Suitor (1st) was named a starter for the West, while F Ryan Benesch (2nd), F Callum Crawford (2nd) and rookie T Jordan MacIntosh (1st) were selected as reserves. MacIntosh, 22, recorded his first career hat trick last weekend on the road against Rochester and became the first player in Swarm history to make the All-Star Game as a rookie.
“He’s done well and he’s is definitely on the right page,” said Lines on MacIntosh. “He’s learning as he goes and it’s a big challenge for any of these rookies. With the hat trick last week, his confidence is building.”
Minnesota looked to be on pace to secure its second win of the season last week after building a 9-6 lead at halftime against the Knighthawks, however a few costly penalties in the fourth quarter left the Swarm shorthanded. “We need to adapt to how the rules are,” Lines said. “We need to do a better job with that. We can’t get selfish and we can’t take penalties at key points in the game.”
Minnesota is 1-0 at home this season and last played on Treasure Island Field on Jan. 28 against the Buffalo Bandits. Crawford (7g, 16a) and Benesch (10g, 12a) lead the Swarm in scoring in 2012 and rookie G Tyler Carlson (1-1) has posted a .740 SV% in two games. MacIntosh is first on the team with 54 faceoff wins and Minnesota ranks third in the NLL in faceoff percentage at 62.3%.
The Swarm currently sits tied with Edmonton for third place in the West Division and both teams will be looking to secure a win on Friday to keep pace with division leader Colorado (5-0). The Rush are led by G Aaron Bold, who leads the league in GAA (9.67) and F Shawn Williams (team-high 16 points). Bold and Williams were acquired in a trade with the Knighthawks this past offseason.
“I expect us to obviously be prepared and focused for the first game,” Lines said. “We have to take it one at a time.”
On Sunday, the Swarm will have some extra noise in the building when the team hosts its annual Dog Day at the Hive. For only $10, fans are invited to watch the game with their dogs from the upper bowl.
“We’ve done this the past two years and we’ve had a great turnout,” Lines said. “It’s such a great way to get families out and then you have the dogs there as well. It’s something different and we look forward to it every year.”
Lines and Co. have not beaten Rochester since 2008, and will use last Saturday’s loss as a way to prepare for this weekend’s matchup.
“We played a 45 minute game against Rochester (last week),” he said. “If we played a 60 minute game there, then it’s a different story. That’s what we’re going to have to do. The league is so close this year. It can be anybody, any game.”
The Swarm are 2-1 all-time at home against the Rush, and 2-5 against the Knighthawks. Friday’s contest against Edmonton will air this Sunday at 4 p.m. as a delayed broadcast on Channel 45. The Swarm’s game vs. Rochester will air next Sunday Feb. 19 at 4 p.m. on Channel 45. For ticket information to the doubleheader, visit mnswarm.com or call 1-888-MN-SWARM.
vs. Rochester Knighthawks (2-3)
Treasure Island Field
Xcel Energy Center - St. Paul, Minn.
Time: 2 p.m. CT
TV: Channel 45 (Delayed Broadcast - Sunday, Feb. 19 at 4 p.m.)
Radio: SAM 101.5 FM (Brainerd Lakes Area)
Online: NLL Network (http://new.livestream.com/rochesterknighthawks)