DENVER – The Minnesota Swarm (1-4) no longer play in the West Division with the Colorado Mammoth (3-5), but Saturday’s matchup at Pepsi Center sure felt like a divisional contest. Highlight-reel goals, tough defense, big hits, a few scrums; it was everything you would expect from two teams that have developed a heated rivalry over the years.
In the end however, the Swarm fell short on the road, losing 14-12 in front of a hostile crowd of 15,127 fans, many of whom were wearing Denver Bronco orange in preparation for tomorrow’s Super Bowl. Saturday’s game was close from the get-go, as each of the first three quarters all ended with both teams tied up. That set up a nail-biting finish, which unfortunately saw the Swarm come up on the losing end.
Forward Callum Crawford lived up to his “Showtime” nickname and tallied a season-high seven points (4G, 3A) to lead all Minnesota scorers. Crawford scored two goals in both the second and third quarters to keep the Swarm's offense clicking. Crawford’s two tallies to start the second half gave the Swarm a 10-8 advantage, and kept Mammoth fans on the edge of their seats. Colorado responded though, getting goals from F Sean Pollock (1G, 2A) and a last-second score from T Cameron Holding (1G, 1A) to once again tie the score as the game approached the fourth quarter.
In his Swarm debut, newly acquired F Dane Stevens (1G) scored a clutch goal at the 9:24 mark in the fourth to even the score at 11 after Minnesota’s offense cooled off for a brief period. Rookie T Cameron Flint (No. 4 overall pick) also made his NLL debut against the Mammoth and recorded five loose balls.
Despite a even matchup throughout, it was the Mammoth who took control of the game in the final minutes, capitalizing on goals from F Drew Westervelt (2G, 3A), F John Grant Jr. (3G, 5A) and T Joey Cupido (1G). It was Cupido’s goal that was the dagger, as it gave the Mammoth their largest lead of the night at 14-11 with 1:21 left.
Rookie F Logan Schuss (2G, 3A) notched his second goal and gave the Swarm their last glimpse of hope with 1:02 remaining, as his blast from center cut the lead to 14-12. The 2013 No. 1 overall pick has now recorded three games in a row with at least two goals, and has seven goals on the season.
In the first quarter, the Swarm jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after Schuss and T Andrew Suitor (2G, 2A) tallied the game’s opening goals. Colorado answered back in front of its home crowd, and took a 3-2 advantage after F Adam Jones (2G, 2A) notched his first tally on the night midway through the first. Minnesota then got a big boost from reigning NLL Transition Player of the Year, Jordan MacIntosh (2G, 2A), who scored the game’s next two goals. MacIntosh’s second goal, which gave the Swarm a 4-3 advantage, came on a gorgeous behind-the-back shot in front of the crease that went five-hole on Mammoth G Dillon Ward (31 saves).
The first quarter ended with both teams tied at four after F Casey Powell scored his first goal of the 2014 season with 58 seconds left. One of the game’s all-time greats, Powell was activated this week by the Mammoth, and finished the night with a game-high nine points (3G, 6A).
The Swarm also got out to a fast start in the second quarter, and built a 6-4 lead three minutes in. Minnesota first found the back of the net on Suitor’s second tally, and then took a two-goal lead on a slick shot from Crawford, that was ruled a goal after a challenge from the Swarm bench. Colorado once again responded however, and tied the game at six midway through the second quarter. Both teams traded goals to end the first half, which included a goal from Powell with .6 seconds left on a 5-on-3 opportunity to nod the score at eight.
Swarm goalie Zach Higgins made his first career road start on Saturday, and finished the night with 38 saves on 52 shots.
Minnesota will look to snap a two-game losing streak next Saturday, when the team returns to The Hive for a 7 p.m. CT matchup against the Calgary Roughnecks. Lower-level seats start as low as $22 for Heroes Night at The Hive. Swarm fans looking to lock up 2014 Season Tickets can take advantage of a Buy 2, Get 2 at 25% offer. By purchasing two season tickets at full price, fans can add an additional two tickets for 25% off. Call 1-888-667-9276 for purchasing information.