SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Swarm (4-12) are in a prime position to wind down their 2014 season by building a winning streak, starting Saturday as they host the Colorado Mammoth (6-10) at Xcel Energy Center. Seats are still available for the 7 p.m. CT faceoff for as low as $22 and can be found on MNSwarm.com. Fans can also watch the game on Swarm Vision and MNSwarm.com via YouTube and The Lacrosse Network and later on 45TV Sunday, May 4 at 4 p.m. CT.
The Swarm will try to win their second consecutive game after taking down the Buffalo Bandits 10-9 in front of their home crowd last Saturday. The game began with some unfortunate news, as Minnesota learned midway through that a Toronto Rock victory had knocked them out of the Eastern playoff race. However despite their elimination, they found a way to persevere clinched the season series against their divisional rivals.
“We weren’t going to make it easy for anybody,” said Coach Joe Sullivan of the victory. “Our guys have competed as hard as I’ve seen them compete over the last four or five games and they have come up short more times than I care to remember. But that was just one game they weren’t going to let slip away.”
In the third-straight tight affair between the Swarm and Bandits, it was a record-breaking go-ahead goal by F Logan Schuss and clutch goaltending by Tyler Carlson that tilted the game in Minnesota’s favor in the end. Schuss broke a 9-9 tie with under five minutes in the game with his 30th tally of the season, setting a Swarm record for goals by a rookie in a single season. The two-time NLL Rookie of the Month surpassed T Kiel Matisz’s mark of 29 set in 2013. After Minnesota took the lead, Carlson took over making a handful of incredible stops down the stretch to grab his second win of the season, finishing with a season-high 41 saves.
Schuss’ marker wasn’t the only historic goal scored against Buffalo, as F Callum Crawford tied Ryan Benesch atop the Swarm’s all-time goal list after netting number 141 in a Minnesota uniform in the second quarter. While he wasn’t able to do so against Benesch’s Bandits, Crawford has a chance to break the record at The Hive this Saturday against the Mammoth.
Minnesota and Colorado have not met since a Feb. 1 game in Denver, won by the Mammoth 14-12. The Mammoth are a different looking team now, at least behind their bench, as on March 5 they made a wholesale coaching change, firing Bob Hamley and his staff in favor of three former players: Pat Coyle, Chris Gill and Dan Stroup. Colorado is 2-3 since making the personnel switch.
However the Mammoth are coming to St. Paul on the heels of doing something that nobody has been able to do this season in the NLL – defeat the Edmonton Rush. Colorado handed the previously 14-0 Rush their first defeat of the season on April 11, winning 10-8 at Pepsi Center. They sit in third place in the West Division, and can clinch the final playoff berth with a win on Saturday, a scenario that the Swarm are determined to prevent happening on their own turf.
The Mammoth sport one of the most exciting offenses in the NLL, led by future Hall-of-Famer F John Grant Jr., who currently holds the No. 4 spot in the league’s point race with 86 (37g, 49a). Alongside Grant Jr. are forwards Drew Westervelt (61 points), Adam Jones (53 points) and former Swarm member Sean Pollock (40 points). Rookie G Dillon Ward has had a strong start to his NLL career between the pipes, bringing six wins and an 11.51 GAA into The Hive. Ward made 42 saves in the win against the Rush.
Even though there are only two games left to play for the Swarm in 2014, with their season finale against Toronto coming after their date with Colorado, Sullivan is confident that there will be no quit in his squad, regardless of the circumstances.
“The guys made a pact that the last two games are going to be wins for us, they know they are playing all playoff teams and they want to send a message,” Sullivan explained. “We are going to go out in a way that we can hold our heads up high, and be proud of what we’ve done and how we’ve come together as a team.”
A Minnesota Swarm game is something that has to be experienced live to be fully understood. Fans can get that experience in The Hive for as low as $22 for a lower-level seat. Fans looking to lock up pro-rated season packages can still take advantage of a special Buy 2, Get 2 25%-Off promotion for the remainder of the 2014 Season. Visit mnswarm.com or call 888-667-9276 for more information.