SAINT PAUL, Minn. – It was a milestone-filled night as the National Lacrosse League’s (NLL) Minnesota Swarm (6-7) scored a franchise-record 21 goals to best the Buffalo Bandits (5-9) 21-7 on Treasure Island Field at Xcel Energy Center. Minnesota never trailed in the contest and the team’s 14-goal advantage is the Swarm’s largest margin of victory in team history. Minnesota is currently riding a three-game winning streak.
“Early on in the year we faced a lot of adversity with some one-goal losses,” head coach Joe Sullivan said. “Through those losses we’ve grown as a group and showed a lot of character to rebound really well in the last three games.”
The Swarm jumped out to an early 1-0 lead just 22 seconds into the game as Jordan MacIntosh found the back of the net off of a feed from Callum Crawford. MacIntosh finished with a career-high eight points (5g, 3a) and now has four or more goals in back-to-back games. The RIT product also grabbed a team-high of 11 loose balls and was recently named the NLL Week #13 Transition Player of the Week.
Crawford has been on an absolute tear as of late, finishing with two goals and eight assists to tie his 10-point single game career-high. The Ottawa, Ontario native has scored eight or more points in his last four outings. Minnesota is 4-1 this year when team captain Crawford records more than eight points in a single game. Crawford was named the NLL Week #13 Offensive Player of the Week.
“Callum is incredibly important to this team, he’s the guy on the right side of the floor that can pick up the ball and do it himself if he has to,” Sullivan said before the game. “The biggest thing that he’s doing this year is making everyone around him better. He’s seeing the ball well, finding the open players and creating space for teammates around him. He’s really become the all-around offensive threat with the ball and without the ball, which is something he’s put a lot of commitment into doing.”
On the receiving end of one of Crawford’s eight assists was Shayne Jackson (3g, 5a), who tallied a career-high of eight points on the night. The rookie out of Limestone College has 53 points on the season for third-best on the team.
Milestones that Minnesota made on the field notwithstanding, while the Swarm players were in the locker room another record occurred: the first wedding in franchise history. Swarm employee and longtime fan Sarah O’Brien tied the knot with Daelen Snow at halftime of the contest. The 10,167 fans in attendance, the most at a 2013 Swarm game this season, erupted in applause as Snow kissed his bride to make the marriage official.
Tyler Carlson was huge in front of the net, allowing just seven goals and making 40 saves for a save percentage of .851.
“We’re really starting to settle in now,” said Carlson. “We’re really becoming a family, whereas we weren’t meshing well earlier. Now we’re putting the ball in the net, which is really helping us mesh as a family.”
Another key contributor for Minnesota was Josh Gillam. The Peterborough, Ontario native recorded three points (1g, 2a) in his third game of the season. Gillam was playing professional hockey before returning to the Swarm last month. Minnesota has not lost a game with Gillam in the lineup.
After garnering NLL Week #13 Rookie of the Week honors, Kiel Matisz continued to fill the box score Saturday night with a five-point effort (2g, 3a). The Robert Morris University alumnus is fourth on the Swarm in scoring, with 49 points this season.
Ryan Benesch chipped in with four points (2g, 2a) and forced a turnover.
Shawn Williams led the way for Buffalo with five points (2g, 3a) in the loss.
Minnesota recorded 11 unanswered goals stretching from the second quarter to the fourth, and 11 different players scored for the Swarm.
Minnesota is 5-2 this season and will fly to Philadelphia early Sunday morning to face the Wings (5-8), who lost to the Rochester Knighthawks (6-6) Saturday night. The Swarm beat Philadelphia 20-11 on March 29.
“We’re going to see a better and more desperate team tomorrow, which is always scary,” said Sullivan in reference to the Wings. “They lost tonight, which means they’re behind us (in the standings) so they’re going to want to beat us…and they’re going to be an energized team.”
The game at Philadelphia will start at 3 p.m. CT and can be seen live on Swarm Vision at mnswarm.com.
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