CALGARY, AB - The Minnesota Swarm (5-7) lost to the division leading Calgary Roughnecks (10-3) 15-12 on Friday night in front of 10,486 fans at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Minnesota led 7-4 at halftime, but an 8-1 run by the Roughnecks in the third quarter closed the door on the Swarm’s opportunity to clinch a playoff spot. With the win, Calgary clinched the top spot in the West Division and will now hold home field advantage during the first two rounds of the playoffs.
In the loss, the Swarm remained in third place in the West Division and trail Washington (6-7) by a half game behind for second place. The Stealth lost in overtime on Friday to the Toronto Rock, 13-12.
While Minnesota’s offense went cold in the second half, three players still managed to finish with hat tricks. Forward Ryan Benesch (3g, 4a) added three goals to his league leading total, which now stands at 36, and forwards Callum Crawford (3g) and Aaron Wilson (3g, 2a) also found the back of the net three times against the Roughnecks.
Benesch’s 36 goals on the season set new a career-high and his 72 points (36g, 36a) on the year stands one point shy of the league lead shared by F Lewis Ratcliff (30g, 43a) and F Dan Dawson (22g, 51a).
Goalie Kevin Croswell replaced starter Nick Patterson late in the third quarter after Calgary scored six unanswered goals to build a 12-8 lead. Patterson finished with 22 saves on 33 shots, while Croswell stopped 18 of 22 shots. Croswell’s appearance was only his second on the season, and his first since facing Buffalo on Feb. 4.
Forwards Jeff Shattler (3g, 2a) and Dane Dobbie (3g, 3a) led the Roughnecks in scoring and combined for four of Calgary’s eight goals in the third quarter. Minnesota dropped to 2-8 all-time against the Roughnecks in the loss.
The Swarm will get an opportunity to end Calgary’s six-game winning streak tomorrow on Treasure Island Field at Xcel Energy Center at 6 p.m. Prior to the Swarm’s rematch against the Roughnecks, the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Minnesota Wild will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning at 1 p.m. in part of doubleheader at Xcel Energy Center.
In-between the Minnesota Swarm and Minnesota Wild doubleheader, there will be a Coors Light pub crawl and downtown bar and restaurant promotions. The crawl will kick off at The Liffey, followed by McGovern's, Tom Reid's Hockey City Pub and Eagle Street Bar & Grill.
Early arriving fans for "Hockey Night at the Hive" will receive thunderstix and fans are encouraged to wear their hockey jerseys to the game, as special guests will be chosen to compete in a hockey themed halftime contest. The turf will come up following the Swarm game for “Cheap-Skate,” allowing fans to skate on the ice for a special ticket price of $25.