ROCHESTER, New York – In their only preseason game of the year, the Minnesota Swarm came up short against the defending champion Rochester Knighthawks Saturday night at Blue Cross Arena 11-10.
Minnesota scored in bunches, powered by a strong attack from two rookies: F Kiel Matisz and T Sam Bradman. Both first year players combined for nearly half of the Swarm’s goals, netting two apiece.
When asked about his NLL debut, Matisz said, “It was great to get the first game jitters out of the way. I thought in the beginning I tried to do a little too much, but once I settled down and worried about the team first I thought I played pretty well.”
The Knighthawks struck early, finding the back of the net in the opening minutes. However, the Swarm quickly fired back with goals from F Jay Card and D Dan Ball.
Swarm rookie D Alex Crepinsek was brought to Minnesota to be what associate general manager and head coach Joe Sullivan calls a “shutdown defender”, but he showed off his scoring ability tonight as well. After Rochester took a 5-2 lead in the second quarter, the Swarm answered with back-to-back-to-back goals from F Pat Smith, Crepinsek, and Bradman.
Another flurry of scores came late in the fourth period, with the Swarm trailing 9-7. A pair of goals from Matisz and F Joel Henry gave Minnesota a 10-9 lead. The one-point advantage was not enough, however, as Rochester pulled out the gutty win at home, with the deciding play coming off of Johnny Powless’ penalty-shot goal.
Also scoring on the night was Swarm veteran F Ryan Benesch. When asked about some takeaways from Saturday’s game, the 2011 NLL scoring champion said, “I’m happy with the effort I gave and the effort everyone has given through this whole camp. We’ve got practice tomorrow, then one more weekend of training camp – it’s go time.”
Minnesota played three goaltenders throughout the game. Second years Evan Kirk and Tyler Carlson shared time in the first half, Kirk allowing five goals to Carlson’s one. Undrafted rookie Zach Higgins was in front of the net for the entire second half and gave up five goals in all. Before training camp, Coach Sullivan claimed that Higgins was a “great competitor” and was “going to push for a job”. He played strong in the second half to further highlight tonight’s youth movement.
Swarm fans looking to lock up 2013 Season Tickets 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. Single Game Tickets start as low as $21 for all eight home games in 2013. For purchasing information on both Season and Single Game Tickets, fans can call 1-888-MN-SWARM or visit mnswarm.com
Photo Credit: Larry Palumbo