SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The National Lacrosse League’s (NLL) Minnesota Swarm (3-2) will finish up its two-game road trip this Saturday Feb. 12 against the Rochester Knighthawks (3-2) at The Blue Cross Arena. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m. CST.
Minnesota fell to the Knighthawks on Treasure Island Field at Xcel Energy Center 11-10 in overtime during its season opener on Jan. 8. Rochester trailed 10-8 late in the fourth quarter, but got two late goals from forwards Shawn Evans (2g, 1a) and Shawn Williams (1g, 5a) to tie the game as time expired. Former Swarm F Craig Point scored the game-winning goal in overtime for Rochester and finished the game with a hat trick.
“We didn’t play too bad in the first meeting,” coach Mike Lines said. “We had a couple of collapses late in the game and that’s something we need to avoid this week. Once again it will take a 60 minute effort to pull out a win.”
T Andrew Watt led the Swarm that evening with a hat trick and forwards Callum Crawford (2g, 2a) and Ryan Benesch (2g, 2a) each recorded four points. Rochester improved to 8-4 all-time against Minnesota with the win.
The Swarm went on to win three straight games after losing to the Knighthawks, including two wins against the defending NLL champion Washington Stealth. Its winning streak came to an end last weekend after a 15-12 road loss to the Buffalo Bandits.
Benesch led the Swarm with seven points (3g, 4a), but Minnesota gave up a season-high 15 goals and G Nick Patterson was pulled in the second quarter.
“Defensively we had poor communication,” Lines said. “About a half dozen guys probably played their worst game of the season. We just had a bad game all around.”
Lines emphasized afterwards to his team to stay positive.
“The bottom line is that it’s only one loss,” Lines said. “We can’t get down on ourselves like we did in the past. We have to regroup and continue to improve this week against Rochester. We weren’t going to finish this season 15-1, but we have to keep moving forward and not take steps sideways or backwards.”
Despite the loss, F Sean Pollock (2g, 1a) became the Swarm’s all-time points leader after tallying an assist in the fourth quarter. Pollock entered the night with 308 career points and needed just two points to tie former F Ryan Ward’s mark of 310 points. After posting three points against the Bandits, Pollock now sits atop the leaderboard with 311 points.
“It means something in the sense that I’ve been able to play with one organization for seven years,” Pollock said. “They’ve stuck by me through the ups and downs. I think it’s a credit to the organization for believing in me and that means a lot more than setting a points record.”
Pollock said despite the Swarm’s 3-2 start in 2011, players are still looking to improve in many areas.
“We are definitely not satisfied with our 3-2 record,” Pollock said. “We let the first game against Rochester get away from us and we felt like we should have been 4-0 after the first four games. We went into Buffalo and sort of laid an egg, which was disappointing. I know we are really hungry and want to get back on the winning track this week.”
2011 Swarm road games are streamed LIVE on mnswarm.com and nll.com at no cost. Lower level single game tickets can be purchased for as low as $24 for 2011 home games. Tickets are available online at mnswarm.com or by calling 888-MN-SWARM.