SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The Swarm (3-4) won their first road game of the season 13-8 Friday night at the Edmonton Rush (3-5) for the franchise’s first victory at Rexall Place since 2006.
Minnesota has a quick turnaround and will play the Rush – again – this Sunday afternoon on Treasure Island Field at Xcel Energy Center. It will be Dog Day at the Hive and fans are invited to sit with their dogs during the 2 p.m. CT game.
Swarm forward Callum Crawford was Friday night’s leading scorer with nine points (2g, 7a) in his first game back from a lower body injury. The Ottawa, Ontario native kicked off the doubleheader weekend with a behind-the-back feed to rookie Kiel Matisz to give Minnesota a 1-0 advantage less than two minutes into the game.
“He brings leadership and his presence in the room is a calming factor,” said Swarm associated general manager and head coach Joe Sullivan. “What he did on the floor was extraordinary and his presence gives everyone confidence.”
The last time the two franchises met was in the West Division Finals last May on Treasure Island Field at Xcel Energy Center. The Rush captured the victory 15-3. Going into the night, speculation was that Minnesota wanted to avenge that loss.
“I don’t know if tonight’s revenge, but it shows that the last game was just an off night,” said Crawford. “We showed that we can play with these guys and we were able to take it to them tonight, but that doesn’t mean things are going to go like that on Sunday unless we come out and put the work in again.”
Evan Kirk was pulled from the game midway through the first quarter after giving up four quick goals. He was replaced by Tyler Carlson, but went back into the game to start the second period and was nearly impenetrable. Kirk gave up just two goals in the second half and recorded 43 saves and a save percentage of .843. Kirk didn’t allow a single goal in the second half the last time the two clubs played in Edmonton.
“Goaltending from Evan Kirk and hard work were the difference,” said Crawford. “Evan Kirk had a phenomenal night and showed us that he’s one of the best goaltenders in the game.”
Matisz had a strong showing on the night as well, nabbing the third hat trick of his young career. He was recently named the NLL’s Rookie of the Week for the second time this season.
Jordan MacIntosh also recorded a hat trick on the night to go along with three assists. The 2012 NLL All-Star won 12 face-offs as well and grabbed a team-high eight loose balls.
The win was capped off by rookie Alex Crepinsek’s second career goal.
Rush forwards Cory Conway and Corey Small had five points each in the loss.
The Swarm had dropped three games by one point heading into Friday night’s matchup. “Those losses build character and our character really showed tonight,” said Sullivan. “Edmonton’s a really great team that is going to get better…as are we. We’ll take the early pain in this season for the long term gain.”
Fans can receive an upper bowl ticket to Sunday afternoon’s contest for just $12 with the special promo code: WOOF. The afternoon will feature a pre-game dog walk around located on the upper level concourse at 12:30 p.m. and a halftime mascot game.
Sunday’s matchup can be seen live on Swarm Vision by visiting mnswarm.com as well as on SAM 101.5 FM in the Brainerd Lakes Area.
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 remaining 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: Chris Fischbeck