SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Swarm (3-3) lost to the Rochester Knighthawks (4-2) 12-10 on Saturday night at the Blue Cross Arena in front of 4,940 fans.
Minnesota held a 10-9 advantage entering the fourth quarter, but could not find the back of the net in the game’s final 15 minutes. Rochester scored four unanswered goals to close out the game, three of which came in the fourth quarter, to pick up its second straight victory.
Forward Ryan Benesch led the Swarm with four goals and an assist. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound forward leads the Swarm with 38 points (20g, 18a) in 2011.
Forwards Callum Crawford (2g, 4a), Mat Giles (5a) and Aaron Wilson (4a) all tallied season-highs in assists in the loss.
After trailing for a majority of the game, Minnesota responded with four unanswered goals to take a 10-8 lead late in the third. A mid-air score from behind the net by F Kevin Ross (1g) tied the game at 8-8 midway through the quarter.
The Swarm then grabbed its first lead of the night at 9-8 when Benesch tallied his fourth goal at the 4:47 mark. Crawford added his second score moments later and Minnesota silenced fans at the Blue Cross Arena after taking a 10-8 lead with 3:44 to play in the third. Crawford’s goal would be the Swarm’s last, however.
The Swarm entered Saturday’s game as one of the league’s best finishers. Minnesota ranked second in the NLL in goals scored and first in goals against in fourth quarters, but failed to convert on all eight of its fourth quarter scoring chances against the Knighthawks. Rochester on the other hand scored three goals, one each from D Pat McCready (1g, 2a), F Mark Accursi (2g, 2a) and F Shawn Evans (3g, 3a) to walk away with a 12-10 victory. With the win, the Knighthawks improved to 2-0 against Minnesota in 2011.
Goalie Matt Vinc picked up the win for Rochester after stopping 35 of 45 shots. Vinc made a critical penalty shot save late in the fourth quarter on a Benesch shot attempt to secure the Knighthawks’ two-goal lead. G Nick Patterson fell to 3-2 on the season after making 39 saves on 51 shots.
Newly acquired F Jamie Shewchuk (2g, 1a) scored three points in his Swarm debut and T Brock Boyle collected two loose balls in his first minutes of action in 2011.
Minnesota will play its first back-to-back next weekend. The Swarm returns home to Treasure Island Field at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday, Feb. 19 to host the Boston Blazers at 7:30 p.m. CST. The following night, Minnesota will travel to take on the Colorado Mammoth at the Pepsi Center at 7 p.m.
The Swarm will celebrate Go Green Night at the Hive on Feb. 19 and has partnered with Xcel Energy’s Windsource® program by purchasing enough renewable energy to completely offset the electricity needed to power its game that evening.
Tickets for the 2011 Minnesota Swarm season, presented by Treasure Island Resort & Casino, are available by visiting mnswarm.com or calling 888-MN-SWARM.