With a strong second-half performance agains the Western Disivion Champs, the Minnesota Swarm have clinched a spot in the 2011 National Lacrosse League Playoffs.
SAINT PAUL, Minn. –The Minnesota Swarm (6-7) defeated the Calgary Roughnecks (10-4) 13-8 on Treasure Island Field at Xcel Energy Center during the Swarm’s LIVE broadcast on KSTC-TV Channel 45.
"This was a huge win," coach Mike Lines said. "We gave the last few games away and tonight we bounced back against a really good opponent. The difference between last night and tonight is that we answered their runs."
With the win, Minnesota joins Calgary and Washington in clinching a spot in the playoffs for the West Division. This marks the fifth time in franchise history that the Swarm will journey to the playoffs.
"Tonight's win goes out to our fans," rookie transition player Andrew Suitor said. "They deserved this one."
Suitor (4g) posted a career-high goal four goals for the Swarm and G Kevin Croswell played a complete game and recorded his first win of the season, tallying 47 saves on 55 shots.
"It was good to get back in front of net and we knew we had to get it done tonight, and we did," Croswell said.
In the fourth quarter, the Swarm continued to gain momentum. The team recorded a total of seven goals, two of which came as empty netters. Suitor registered a one-handed goal for the Swarm at the 14:48 mark to build a 7-6 lead. It was also Minnesota’s first lead since the first quarter. Forwards Sean Pollock (1g, 1a), Aaron Wilson (2g, 3a) and Kevin Ross (1g, 1a) each notched a goal, bringing the Swarm lead to 10-6. With 1:13 seconds remaining in the quarter, T Tyler Hass (2g) recorded his second goal of the game on an empty net.
During the third quarter, F Callum Crawford (1g, 2a) collected his fifth power play goal of the season at the 11:45 mark. Forwards Mat Giles (1g, 1a) and Ryan Benesch (1g, 2a) both tallied shorthanded goals on the same penalty, tying the game up at 6-6 at the end of the quarter. With his goal, Benesch increased his NLL lead to 37 goals on the season.
Suitor notched a shorthanded goal for Minnesota, his first goal in the NLL, to give the Swarm a 3-2 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter.
"I've never felt anything like that before in my life," Suitor said. "I just saw an opening and I just went with my gut instinct. To get that first goal takes a monkey off my back. It felt great to be able to contribute to the team tonight and the sky is the limit for this team right now."
At halftime, Minnesota trailed Calgary 4-3.
In the first quarter, Hass recorded the first goal of the game at the 10:05 mark. Wilson capitalized on the power play for the Swarm and tallied his 17th goal of the season, giving Minnesota a 2-0 lead. The Swarm led the Roughnecks 2-1 at the end of the first quarter.
Forwards Dane Dickson (2g, 1a) and Cory Conway (2g) led Calgary with two goals each. Goalie Mike Poulin made 25 saves on 36 shots.
Minnesota is now 1-1 against Calgary this season. The Swarm fell to the Roughnecks 15-12 on Friday, April 1at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.
Make sure to visit mnswarm.com on Saturday, April 9 as the Swarm head to Washington to battle the Stealth at 9:30 p.m. CDT. Fans not near a computer during the game can text “SWARM TURF” to 91944 to receive halftime and final score updates. Minnesota returns home to take on Philadelphia on Saturday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m. during the second annual “Hive Cares Night.” Proceeds raised from the event will benefit the Randy Shaver Cancer Research & Community Fund as part of an NLL initiative to help “Black Out Cancer.”
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.