Photo credit: Todd Bauders
PHILADELPHIA- After being pushed to the limit, the Minnesota Swarm were able to bend but not break as they staged a furious second half rally to upend the Philadelphia Wings 15-14 on Sunday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center.
“Collectively they all believed today,” Swarm coach Joe Sullivan explained after the win. “We didn’t get the start we wanted but the heart and character came through and everyone played for the guy next to them.”
The Swarm were led by a breakout performance by rookie F Logan Schuss, who exploded for five goals and two assists, highlighted by a natural hat trick to begin the fourth quarter, which erased a 12-10 deficit and gave his team their first lead of the day, one they would not relinquish. The 2013 No. 1 overall pick scored 13 seconds into the final frame, finishing off a nice setup from T Jordan MacIntosh and T Tyler Hass, before adding two more goals to complete the hat trick in a 1:46 span. Schuss echoed his coach’s sentiment when talking about Minnesota’s resilience.
“It’s all about what coach Sully has been talking to us about: having faith in each other,” Schuss said. “We know lacrosse is a game of runs and we were going to get our chance and it ended up working out for us.”
Minnesota’s rally started earlier in the third quarter when they scored the last three goals of the quarter, and the first three of what ended up being a 7-0 run, which gave them a 14-12 lead after trailing 12-7. Forward Callum Crawford tallied his only goal of his six-point output (1g, 5a) to get the streak started, and T Brock Sorensen chipped in for his second goal of the night (and fourth of the weekend) to bring the Swarm within a pair in the waning stages of the third quarter.
Swarm G Zach Higgins was able to put a rough start behind him as he stood his ground against a Philadelphia team desperate for a comeback of their own in the fourth quarter, stopping 22 shots to pick up the victory. Higgins and the Swarm defense struggled in the early going, falling into a 4-0 hole just over eight minutes into the opening frame, causing Tyler Carlson to step into the game. However, Higgins returned to the game in the third quarter and helped shut down the Wings’ high-flying offense.
Despite trailing 6-1 at one point in the opening frame, Minnesota’s offensive attack was able to keep the game within reach, led by a trio of first-half power play markers which helped curtail Philadelphia’s momentum. Schuss scored his first of the game on the man advantage to get the Swarm on the board, while T Kiel Matisz (2g) and F Shayne Jackson (1g, 2a) each scored power play goals in the second quarter to help cut Philadelphia’s lead to 9-6 heading into halftime. The Swarm finished the game 5-for-5 with the man up and killed five of the Wings’ seven chances, continuing a trend of dominant special teams play.
In what was a gutsy team effort, there were plenty of other Swarm players who had impressive showings. A day after scoring five goals against Toronto, MacIntosh channeled his playmaker side, tallying five assists and 14 loose balls. Captain T Andrew Suitor also had a banner day on the defensive side of the ball, bringing in ten loose balls and a career-high seven forced turnovers, along with adding a late goal to give Minnesota a 14-12 lead in the fourth quarter.
For Philadelphia, F Kevin Crowley’s 10 points (2g, 8a) led the way, while forwards Pat Saunders (4g, 2a) and Kyle Buchanan (6a) each put up six-point outings. Wings netminder Brandon Miller was peppered all night, turning aside 42 shots as the Swarm held a 57-50 edge on shots-on-goal.
The critical victory, coming less than 24 hours after Saturday’s loss in Toronto, improves the Swarm to 2-7 on the season. It also clinched the season series 2-1 over Philadelphia, helping Minnesota make up some ground in the East Division. The Swarm now are within a half-game of the Wings for fourth place in the division, while 2.5 back of Toronto for third.
Minnesota will be off next weekend, and will return to action Sunday March 8 when they travel to take on the East-leading Buffalo Bandits at First Niagara Center.
Swarm fans still 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. Minnesota returns to The Hive on Sunday, March 16 when they host Toronto. Lower-level seats start as low as $22