The Swarm shocked the NLL’s regular season champion Toronto Rock at Air Canada Centre April 28, with a convincing 20-11 playoff victory. Minnesota’s 20 goals marked a franchise playoff record and the team’s second playoff win in history.
While Minnesota started the season a bit slow with the youngest roster in the league, the team gained a lot of momentum as the year wore on and its players adapted to the NLL game.
“The difference is maturity,” coach Sullivan said after the game. “Our leaders have been pivotal later in the year and all of our young guys have matured as well. In a 16-game season it takes rookies about five or six games to adjust and our first year guys were playing in every game. They have all had the opportunity to get their feet underneath them, gain confidence and trust amongst one another, and they’ve come together at the right time. We now have a big game to prepare for, but this game shows how we’re evolving as a group.”
Rookie Shayne Jackson had a big game, tying his career-high of seven points with four goals and three assists, and Jordan MacIntosh also tallied four goals and won 72-percent of his faceoffs in the win. Each time Jackson has recorded seven points, the Swarm has scored at least 20 goals.
The game showed exactly the kind of dangerous team that Minnesota is turning into and that for the Swarm the Champion’s Cup is the limit.
“I think our fans should be very proud of the personalities they’re going to see on the floor next year,” Sullivan said. “From the top down this is an incredible organization that is only going to continue to get better. This will be a Champion’s Cup team. Look for us to hoist that cup.”