Over the next few weeks MNSwarm.com will be hitting the rewind button and taking a look back at the 10th Season of Minnesota Swarm Lacrosse on a month-by-month basis. Make sure to check back each week to relive all the highs, lows, great individual efforts and memorable team performances that made 2014 an exciting year in The Hive.
2014 In Review: February
In their first of a three-game swing against West Division foes, the Swarm found themselves in Denver to take on the Colorado Mammoth - a squad with which Minnesota has long enjoyed a fierce rivalry. The intensity between the two clubs was evident in front of a large crowd at Pepsi Center, in a game that was evenly contested until the final buzzer.
The Swarm and Mammoth were tied at the end of each of the first three quarters, until Colorado was finally able to pull ahead with a three-goal run in the middle of the fourth, grabbing what turned out to be an insurmountable 14-11 lead. Colorado held off a late Minnesota push, winning the interdivisional contest 14-12 (Feb. 1). Forward Callum Crawford led the Swarm attack with seven points (4g, 3a) while T Andrew Suitor chipped in with four points of his own (2g, 2a).
Minnesota’s stretch against the West did not get any easier when the Calgary Roughnecks and Edmonton Rush, the top two squads in the division, visited The Hive on back-to-back weekends.
Against the Roughnecks, the Swarm put themselves in a good spot to earn their first home victory after a strong first half and a quick goal in the third quarter left them with an 8-6 lead. However the Roughnecks had other plans as they rattled off an 8-1 run to give them a commanding 14-9 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game.
It was now the home team’s turn to rally, and rally they did. After T Jordan MacIntosh snapped Calgary’s run to make it 14-10, F Shayne Jackson put his team on his shoulders and carried them right back into the game as he scored a natural hat trick in only 2:18, bringing what was a morose crowd of 8,468 at Xcel Energy Center to pandemonium. Unfortunately Minnesota could not find the equalizer, and Roughneck F Curtis Dickson iced a 15-13 Calgary victory with a penalty shot goal. (Feb. 8).
The next weekend the Swarm set their sights to ending the Edmonton Rush’s incredible unbeaten streak to open the 2014 season, which sat at six prior to their trip to the Hive on Feb. 15. Once the game started, the Rush were quick to show that their red-hot start was not a fluke as they capitalized on a slow start by Minnesota, building a 12-4 lead through the end of the third quarter.
But once again, the Swarm showed no signs of quitting despite a daunting deficit on the scoreboard, as they fought back to outscore Edmonton 5-2 in the final frame. Despite this late rally, the damage was already done, and the Rush improved to 7-0 with a 14-9 win at The Hive.
Crawford continued to get into his rhythm at the helm of the Swarm offense, potting a game-high eight points (2g, 6a). MacIntosh made his mark on both sides of the ball, tallying a hat trick on top of 15 loose balls.
Déjà vu in Toronto:
Returning to East Division play in the first half of a Saturday-Sunday Doubleheader on Feb. 22 in Toronto, the Swarm found themselves in an eerily similar situation as they did the week before against Edmonton.
A slow start by Minnesota allowed the hometown Rock to climb to an imposing 13-4 lead through 45 minutes of play. In the dressing room before the fourth quarter Swarm coach Joe Sullivan told his troops that if nothing else, they should play with a greater sense of pride in the final frame.
Sullivan’s message seemed to have sunk in, as Minnesota absolutely dominated the final 15 minutes, scoring the first seven goals of the quarter and cutting Toronto’s lead to two. The Rock were able to hold on for a 14-12 victory at Air Canada Centre, but the Swarm showed that when they played to their potential they can do some damage.
The Logan Schuss show:
The following afternoon in Philadelphia, things were beginning to go down an all-too familiar path for Minnesota. Playing in front of their home crowd at Wells Fargo Center, the Wings exploded for seven goals in a wild first quarter, and were able to build on it through the next 20 minutes as they found themselves with a 12-7 lead midway through the third quarter.
Again the Swarm found themselves on the comeback trail, as three-straight goals to end the third quarter cut the Philadelphia edge to 12-10. But this time Minnesota made sure this rally would not come up short, as they capped off a 7-0 run with four tallies to start the final frame en route to a thrilling 15-14 victory – one that was highlighted by an incredible individual performance by their star rookie.
2013 first-overall pick F Logan Schuss solidified what was a breakout performance when he buried three goals in the first 2:14 of the quarter, giving his team their first lead of the day, and himself a seven-point performance (5g, 2a) in only his ninth-career game in the NLL. Schuss would later be named the league’s top rookie for the month of February.
PLAYER PROFILES: A CLOSER LOOK AT THE MONTH'S MOST PROLIFIC PERFORMERS
#32 Shayne Jackson
Forward, 5’9’’ 180 Lbs. Bowmanville, Ontario
2014 Stats: 18 GP, 18 G, 33 A, 51 PTS, 5 PPG, 128 SOG, 56 LB
While most fans will look at Jackson’s late-game heroics against Calgary (Feb. 8) as his defining performance of the 2014 season, a closer look will show that the Limestone College graduate was a steady force throughout the month of February. Jackson tallied four goals and 17 assists over five games played in February, and had three or more points in all but one of them. The small but shifty forward wrapped up his second year in the NLL in 2014 after being named to the 2013 NLL All Rookie Team the year previous.
#24 Jordan MacIntosh
Transition, 6’1’’, 210 lbs, Oakville, Ontario
2014 Stats: 18 GP, 23 G, 38 A, 61 PTS, 5 PPG, 204 LB, 25 FT
MacIntosh was one of the most consistent producers of offense on the Swarm roster throughout the 2014 season, along with forwards Callum Crawford and Logan Schuss. While the RIT alum was never far from the scoresheet at any point this season, his most dynamic performances came in February, as he never had less than four points or nine loose balls in any of the month’s five games. MacIntosh tallied hat tricks in three-straight games, starting against Calgary (Feb. 8) and ending with a five-goal affair at Toronto (Feb. 22), an outing he followed up with an equally impressive five-assist showing the next afternoon in Philadelphia.