Saint Paul, Minn.– The Minnesota Swarm (7-8) close out the 2013 regular season on Treasure Island Field at Xcel Energy Center against the Colorado Mammoth (6-9) this Saturday night during Fan Appreciation Night at The Hive. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m. CT.
The Swarm bested the Mammoth 17-12 in Colorado last weekend to clinch their fourth-straight playoff berth, but Minnesota is not going to take Saturday’s game lightly. The contest has direct implications on what team the Swarm plays in the first round of the playoffs and head coach Joe Sullivan wants to make sure that opponent is from the West Division.
“Who we play really doesn’t matter, but I’d like to see us play a Western team to prove to ourselves that we are a deserving team to come out of the West,” Sullivan said. “By winning Saturday night we’d solidify the opportunity to come out of the West and then hopefully take on whoever comes out of the East (for the Champion’s Cup).”
With a win this weekend, the Swarm would finish the season at .500 as well as clinch either the third or fourth seed in the West Division. However, if the Swarm loses to Colorado Saturday night, they will play the East Division’s Toronto Rock (10-6) in the first round of the playoffs via the NLL’s crossover rule. The crossover rule allows the fifth place West Division team to take the place of the 4th place team in the East Division if the 5th place team has a better record.
Coach Sullivan points out that Colorado is going to continue to play tough, seeking a playoff berth of its own. The winner of Saturday’s matchup also walks away with bragging rights, as the season series is currently tied at 1-1.
“Last week we had a lot of success early and later in the game they matched us goal-for-goal, so you know they’re playing desperation ball,” Sullivan said. “No matter their lineup, they have enough experience to beat anyone in this league. Colorado’s going to come at us hard with their offense and (Tye) Belanger is a goalie who can get hot if he starts to see the ball, so we’ll try to take them out of the game early with our speed and physical style of play.”
After becoming the franchise’s all-time points leader last Saturday, F Callum Crawford is on the verge of setting yet another milestone in this Saturday’s regular season finale. The Swarm captain has 89 points on the year, just seven shy of the franchise record of 96 scored in a single season – which Crawford set in 2010. The Ottawa, Ontario native has scored at least eight points in six-straight contests and coach Sullivan hopes he is in the conversation for NLL MVP.
“What he’s done on the floor statistically speaks for itself,” Sullivan said. “His consistent play has been second to none and him taking the captaincy role when Andrew Suitor went down with an injury has led him to become the complete player he was striving to be this year. His leadership on and off the floor has been incredible, the stats show that his focus has been 100-percent and his overall effort and approach to the game have been that much better than in past years. I hope that he gets recognized as a top player in the league, because he’s definitely playing like that for us.”
With a victory against the Mammoth, the Swarm would finish 6-2 at The Hive for the second consecutive season, and finish with the league’s best home record. Minnesota leads the league in goals per game at home (15.1), and has posted the top average margin of victory at home (3.7). In addition, the Swarm has notched a team record of 205 goals this season, which ranks second in the NLL behind the Calgary Roughnecks (210).
A live broadcast of the regular season finale can be seen online on Swarm Vision at mnswarm.com. Swarm fans in the Brainerd Lakes Area can catch the radio broadcast by SAM 101.5.
Swarm fans in attendance for Fan Appreciation Night at The Hive are invited to join Swarm players and coaches for the Coors Light 5th Quarter Post-Game party located at Gate 3 for autographs and photos after the game. For the first time in team history, fans will also be able to witness the Swarm’s Team Awards presentation during the Post-Game party. Single Game Tickets start as low as $21 for the Swarm’s regular season finale this Saturday. For purchasing information, fans can call 1-888-MN-SWARM or visit mnswarm.com