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Toyota Professor: The Hive is Buzzing

02/12/2013, 10:45am CST
By Toyota Professor

Minnesota will look to keep its momentum going this Saturday at The Hive


Photo Credit: Alex Carroll

So… have you recovered yet?  I know I haven’t.  The Swarm’s overtime win last Friday night over the top-ranked Toronto Rock was undeniably one of the most exciting wins in franchise history… a signature win if ever there was one.  “It was awesome to beat Toronto that way, but to be honest with you it didn’t matter who we beat,” says Swarm Assistant Coach Aime Caines.  “The highs and lows were unbelievable. How we kept our composure, both physically and mentally, and found a way to win really shows the character of the guys on this team.  It was just a huge win for us.”

A great sporting event is defined by swings in emotion with the hopeful outcome being your team winning the game.  Talk about swings… the Swarm never trailed in the first half only to lose their lead at the first half buzzer on a goal by Blaine Manning.  Then Manning scored again with just 5 seconds left in the 3rd quarter tying the score again.  Later, leading by two goals with just over two minutes left in the game, the Swarm got whistled for too many men on the turf and former Swarm forward Kasey Beirnes (2006, 2007 seasons) beat Tyler Carlson on a penalty shot to pull the Rock within one goal.  The Hive was deflated further when the Rock tied it up 0:27 seconds later to end regulation deadlocked at 12-12.  In the extra session, the intensity elevated and the emotional swings continued.  Joel Henry ended the game with a wicked rebound goal, the crowd went nuts, the benches emptied… but the referee’s review showed Henry’s foot was on the crease when he scooped up the rebound so the goal was negated.  Soon after, glory hallelujah, Tyler Hass threw the Swarm on his broad shoulders stuffing home the game winner 4:30 into the extra session for the 13-12 Swarm win. “Tyler’s one of those players who has such great size and skill that he brings something to the game that not a lot of guys see,” says Caines.  “He played semi-pro basketball in Europe and he’s such a great athlete.  He can wreak havoc on defense and you saw how he scores.  He stuffed the ball over the goalie and into the net like a dunk.  I can’t say enough about Hass.”

Like all focused teams, the Swarm celebrated the win for just one night and started studying their next opponent, Calgary, starting last Saturday.  Bottom line… things don’t get any easier.  While the Rock led the East Division last Friday, the Roughnecks lead the West Division this week with a 4-2 record and goals per game average of 14.2… tops in the NLL.  They boast two of the top four goal scorers in the league in Shawn Evans (16 goals) and Curtis Dickson (15 goals).“I watched their game Saturday (a 9-8 home win over Edmonton) and they’re solid all around,” warns Caines.  “This will be another big test for us.  We’ve got to tighten things up on defense, especially as the quarters wind down.  Late goals are deflating and we have to tighten that up for Saturday.  Other than that, we expect another intense game and, like against Toronto, we’ll have to outwork them if we want to win.”

While the Roughnecks have two go-to guys, the Swarm counters with a balanced offensive attack unlike any seen in the NLL.  This team doesn’t have just one guy who’s carrying the bulk of the scoring load… they’re hard to defend spreading the wealth like no Swarm club in the nine year history of the franchise.  Check out this multi-headed scoring hydra:

Player Goals Assists Points
Ryan Benesch 10 16 26
Shayne Jackson* 7 14 21
Callum Crawford 5 13 18
Kiel Matisz* 9 8 17
Jordan MacIntosh 6 2 8
Tyler Hass 4 2 6
Brock Sorensen* 2 3 5
Andrew Watt 5 0 5
Andrew Suitor 4 1 5
Jay Card 3 1 4
Joel Henry 1 3 4
Corbyn Tao 2 2 4
Alex Crepinsek* 1 3 4
David Earl 1 2 3
Rookie*

That’s 14 guys each with at least one goal.  There’s no way any defense can key on just one guy… and that’s the secret to the Swarm’s offensive prowess. “It was obvious to us that Toronto wanted to stop Callum and Benny,” says Caines. “But the fact that we got goals from Tao (his first two of the year), Card, Sorenson, Watt and Hass shows our depth.  And Suits too.  Like I said before, that game showed the character of the guys in our dressing room. “

If you have friends who’ve never been to a Swarm game, you have to get them inside the Hive this Saturday night.  It feels like something special is happening this season… the Hive is buzzing like never before (The Swarm has posted a 11-2 record in their last 13 home games) and you get the feeling something good is going to happen inside the Hive every night. Even former Swarm forward Kasey Beirnes told me after the game that the atmosphere in the Hive was terrific and that the team should be very proud of that.  “The Hive was alive on Friday,” says Caines.  “The fans stayed with us throughout the 4th quarter and overtime. Even when it looked bleak the fans were right in it.  I can’t tell you how much that means to us. Them being behind us definitely helped us win that historic game.”

See you Saturday night!

Class Dismissed

The Toyota Professor

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