Swarm transition player Andrew Watt has been effective through the first third of the season, scoring five goals, two of which were unassisted and one shorthanded. As the Kitchener, Ontario native has shown throughout his five-year career with the Swarm, he can score completely by himself, but that doesn’t mean that the Swarm veteran is not close with his teammates.
In the following Q&A, Watt discusses what it was like to beat his hometown Rock last Friday, the growing bond between fellow Peterborough Lakers and Robert Morris University alumni players on the Swarm, and his long relationship with defenseman Jeff Gilbert.
Satzinger: You’re the Swarm’s longest-tenured player. How do you use your familiarity with the NLL and Minnesota to help so many young teammates?
Watt: Being in Minnesota so long you get to learn the ins-and-outs of the organization so you can just help the young guys out with what to expect and how each weekend is going to work with itinerary and matchups. It’s a part of how the game has evolved and I’ve adapted to it.
Satzinger: You’re continuously among the league leaders in short-handed goals and you already have one on the season. How have you been taking advantage of those opportunities?
Watt: Joe Sullivan gives me the chance to be there. I’ve had a couple of good opportunities each year to get breakaways and have the team working together as a unit causing turnovers, which gives me the ability to run the ball up the floor and take advantage.
Satzinger: Before the 2012 NLL Entry Draft IL Indoor claimed that if the Swarm selected Brock Sorensen second overall, which they did, the team would be one of the deepest transition squads in history with yourself, MacIntosh, Suitor, Hass, Earl. What’s it like to play with so many other talented guys in transition?
Watt: It makes my life so much easier. Any weekend any of our guys can break out and score a goal, but when we all can figure out how to contribute as a unit it works out pretty well as a core in transition. We’re starting to get more comfortable working together, learning each other's nuances. Playing with all of these great guys makes everyone’s lives easier knowing that when you look up the floor you’re going to see Brock Sorensen, Suits, Tyler Hass, or David Earl.
Satzinger: You play for the Peterborough Lakers under coach Joe Sullivan and with many other Swarm players. In addition, you’re one of the team’s five Robert Morris University alumni. Could you describe the camaraderie that you have built with so many teammates both new and old?
Watt: It’s pretty cool to be able to play in Peterborough, win a Mann Cup with coach Sullivan, Bob Keast, Jordan MacIntosh, Suits, Tyler Carlson, and it’s even better to be able to be around them with the Swarm as well. I remember playing a bit with Corbyn Tao and Pat Smith at RMU and then seeing Kiel Matisz come through was pretty cool. All of us getting to play together now, along with Jeff Gilbert is a great accomplishment.
Satzinger: Jeff Gilbert played with you at RMU and you were drafted to the NLL in the same season as well. Could you outline your relationship with Gilbert and how far you two go back?
Watt: We met each other the first year of college. I had the opportunity to play a little hockey with Gilby and during that year we had a lot of injuries and needed some help getting some extra players on the lacrosse team and our coach asked us to look for some other players to help us out. I told him that I knew a hockey player that might be able to come out and sure enough Gilby was able to come play a few games with us and ever since we’ve been buddies. Getting him traded from Toronto to Minnesota a few years ago was a pretty cool moment since we’ve known each other for so long. We’re still close and it’s great sometimes to re-live our college moments together.
Satzinger: Looking back at last Friday’s overtime win, how did it feel to beat Toronto since you’re from Ontario?
Watt: It’s always cool, I grew up watching those guys as a season ticket holder back when they were at Maple Leaf Gardens and being able to play against them now is a great feeling. They snuck one out on us a few weeks ago in their barn, but we try not to lose at The Hive so it’s nice giving one back to them after they beat us earlier in the season. It was cool getting the win against them at home.
Satzinger: There’s a great picture from team photographer Alex Carroll that was taken just after Tyler Hass scored the game-winner last week. You’re running towards him with your arms outstretched. What was going through your mind as you saw that ball find the back of the net?
Watt: It was a sense of relief. We scored one earlier in OT that unfortunately was disallowed, but Hass was able to come down a while after and put it in the back of the net. It’s always nice to put the game away quickly in overtime, but it was also great to see Hass score and get the hat trick. It was a beauty of a goal, so it was a sense of relief.
Satzinger: Looking ahead to this Saturday against Calgary, what’s something that teams need to take note of when playing against the Roughnecks?
Watt: They’re a pretty solid all-around team. There’s not really a weak point of that team with goalie Mike Poulin in net and then the offense with tons of weapons, so our defense has to bring our 'A' game and their defense is big and fast. We’ve got to be ready to play a full 60 minutes against Calgary, because they’re tops in the West and it’s going to be a battle. I’m looking forward to it.
Satzinger: This weekend’s game is highlighted by the “Seeing Double” Header with the Minnesota RollerGirls. Do you skate and what can you tell me about the RollerGirls?
Watt: I’ve had the opportunity see them a few times now and it’s pretty intense out there. I haven’t skated like that in a long time and it’s a good show and a lot of fun. They put their bodies out there on the line and it’s very interesting to watch.
Saturday’s game against Calgary will start at 6 p.m. CT and will be followed by the Minnesota RollerGirls bout.