SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Swarm (3-2) defeated the Rochester Knighthawks (2-4) 9-6 on Treasure Island Field in front of 7,087 fans at Xcel Energy Center during the final game of its doubleheader weekend.
After adding two wins this weekend, its first winning streak of the 2012 season, Minnesota now sits at 3-0 at home and is now tied for second place in the West Division with the Calgary Roughnecks (3-2). The win also puts the Swarm at 2-1 against the East Division this season. Minnesota had previously gone 1-11 against the East from 2010-2011.
Minnesota picked up its first win against Rochester since 2008. The team last defeated the Knighthawks 18-17 at Blue Cross Arena on Jan. 26.
Rookie G Evan Kirk (1-0) made his first career start in the NLL and made 46 saves on 52 shots in 60 minutes of play.
"My defense played tremendous in front of me," Kirk said. "I had a lot of confidence in them. They really helped me out."
Kirk held Rochester, who had averaged 13.8 goals per game, to a season-low six goals in the victory.
This marks the fewest goals allowed since Minnesota’s 15-5 win against Colorado on Feb. 20, 2010. Kirk’s brother, D Mike Kirk, collected one loose ball for the Knighthawks in the loss.
"I didn't see him [Mike] a lot because he was on the other side of the floor," Kirk said. "I was a little nervous when he was coming down, I thought he was going to take a shot."
Team Captain Andrew Suitor added on Kirk's performance, "In one word it’s incredible. He went sixth overall in the draft for a reason and he showed it tonight. You look at the way our two young goalies are playing; it’s awesome to have that opportunity and that confidence knowing that say one does have a bit of a shaky go, you’ve got that kid back there that’s ready to go. He just proved tonight the reason why he went so high in the draft."
Forward Callum Crawford (4a) led the Swarm in scoring with four points.
In the fourth, F Ryan Benesch (2g, 1a) tallied the first goal of the quarter to put Minnesota up 7-5, sealing the win. F Kevin Ross (2g, 1a) added his second goal of the day to give the Swarm an 8-5 lead. Captain T Andrew Suitor (2g, 1a) posted the final goal of the game to give Minnesota a 9-6 advantage with 40 seconds remaining.
With both teams down a man, Ross posted the first Minnesota goal of the third quarter to tie the game up at 5-5. Suitor then dove in front of the goal to collect an unassisted goal, his sixth goal of the season, to give the Swarm a 6-5 edge at the end of the third.
Rookie T Jordan MacIntosh (1g, 2a) netted a shorthanded goal 3 minutes and 47 seconds into the second quarter to to give Minnesota a 3-1 lead. Fresh onto the turf, F Jamie Shewchuk (2g) immediately notched his second goal of the game after receiving the pass to bring the score to 4-2 in favor of the Swarm. The Knighthawks responded with a couple of goals to bring the score to a 4-4 tie at halftime.
At the 8:52 mark, Benesch netted the first goal of the game to get Minnesota off to an early 1-0 lead. Shewchuck tallied his fourth goal of the season to put the Swarm up 2-0. At the end of the first quarter, Minnesota led Rochester 2-1.
Forward Johnny Powless (2g, 1a) led Rochester with three points. G Matt Vinc recorded 35 saves on 44 shots in a complete game for the Knighthawks.
Tonight’s game can be viewed on KSTC-TV Channel 45 during a rebroadcast on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 4 p.m.
Minnesota’s last home win against Rochester came on Jan. 19, 2007. The Swarm now trails Rochester 5-10 in the all-time record.
Minnesota returns home next weekend to take on the undefeated Colorado Mammoth (5-0) at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 during the Roll into the Hive doubleheader. Fans are invited to stick around after the Swarm game to watch the Minnesota Rollergirls compete. Early arriving women will receive a gift from Sanctuary SalonSpa.
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.