Photo Credit: Alex Carroll
SAINT PAUL, Minn. –The Minnesota Swarm (9-7) defeated the Colorado Mammoth (11-5) and improved to 6-2 at home with a 16-13 victory on Treasure Island Field in front of a season-high 11,297 fans. Tonight’s game was broadcast LIVE on CBS Sports Network.
Handing Colorado its fifth loss of the season, Minnesota finished off the regular season with its fourth straight win and first victory against the Mammoth during the 2012 season. Minnesota’s 9-7 record comes as its first winning record since 2008. The Swarm also recorded its most home wins (6) since the 2008 season.
"We did our homework, and they're a real good team," said coach Joe Sullivan. "It took us that long to really understand what was working for them and how we had to come at them differently. We came at them real aggressive offensively and defensively."
Minnesota hits the road for the first round of the NLL playoffs on Saturday, May 5 at 6:30 p.m. to take on the Colorado Mammoth once again. This marks the first time that the two teams will meet in the playoffs. The game can be viewed again LIVE on CBS Sports Network.
Leading the Swarm were F Ryan Benesch (3g, 4a) with seven points and T Jordan MacIntosh (2g, 4a) with a career-high six points. MacIntosh also collected 14 loose balls during the night, setting a new team record (154). The record was previously held by Jay Thorimbert, who set the record with 152 loosies in 2010. Goalie Tyler Carlson (5-2) registered 42 saves on 55 shots on goal in 60 minutes of play.
"It feels pretty cool," MacIntosh said of beating the single-season loose balls record. "A lot of it has to do with taking the faceoffs, but it's aways cool to break a record, especially for a great team like the Swarm."
Forward John Grant Jr. (2g, 4a) led the Mammoth with six points. Grant broke the NLL’s single season points record with 4:33 remaining in the fourth quarter when he sank a goal and tallied his 116th point of the season.
Benesch tallied his third goal of the night and increased the Swarm lead to 13-8 in the beginning of the fourth quarter, prompting a fight to ensue with D Illja Gajic and F Joel Henry (3g, 1a). Gajic found himself in the locker room for the remainder of the game for misconduct, fighting and instigating the fight, while Henry landed himself in the penalty box alongside F Jay Card (1g, 1a). Benesch then brought the score to 14-8 with 9:52 remaining. On the breakaway, MacIntosh collected his second goal of the game to put the Swarm up 15-8. Rounding off the scoring for Minnesota, Card launched a hard shot into the back of the net to give the Swarm a 16-13 lead.
In the third quarter, T Tyler Hass (1g) and F Callum Crawford (2g, 4a) added their second goals of the game to give Minnesota an 11-8 advantage. Recording the last goal of the quarter, MacIntosh notched his first goal of the night. Minnesota held a 12-8 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Receiving a pass from D Dan Ball (2a) down the floor, D Brendon Doran (1g) tallied his second career goal to give Minnesota a 5-2 lead. Henry sank the next two goals for the Swarm to record his first career hat trick and put the Swarm up 7-3. Eleven seconds later, T Andrew Suitor (1g, 1a) notched a goal to bring the score to 8-3. Retrieving the pass from G Tyler Carlson (1a), Hass recorded his eighth goal of the season. The Swarm led the Mammoth 9-4 at halftime.
"It's a good feeling to finally get a hat trick out of the way," said Henry. "I was kind of struggling to score goals, so this was nice."
Putting Minnesota off to an early 1-0 lead in the first quarter, Henry notched his seventh career goal. Forward Kevin Ross (1g, 1a) snuck one into the corner of the net to give the Swarm a 2-1 advantage with 9:08 remaining. Quickly responding with a goal of his own 35 seconds later, Benesch put the score at 3-1. With only six seconds remaining, Crawford posted a goal to give Minnesota a 4-2 lead at the end of the quarter.
Colorado goalie Chris Levis recorded 30 saves on 43 shots, before being replaced by G Tye Belanger during the second quarter.