EVERETT, WASH. – In a game full of lead changes and last second goals, the Minnesota Swarm (6-8) fell short in overtime to the Washington Stealth (8-7) 16-15 on Saturday night in front of 4,864 fans at Comcast Arena at Everett.
Stealth F Rhys Duch (5g, 5a) sunk the game-winning goal 30 seconds into overtime to put an end to a wild back and forth battle. Prior to Duch’s goal, F Lewis Ratcliff (6g, 5a) tied the game at 15 with 20.4 seconds remaining in the fourth on an outside shot that just snuck past G Nick Patterson.
Minnesota had built a 15-14 lead after F Aaron Wilson (4g, 2a) notched his fourth goal of the night at the 2:07 mark. Wilson’s four goals led Minnesota’s attack on Saturday and F Ryan Benesch continued to fill up the stat sheet, netting seven points (3g, 4a). With 7:35 remaining in the second quarter, Benesch tallied his league-leading 40th goal and also tied the Swarm’s single season goal mark set by Wilson in 2010.
Forward Kevin Ross (2g, 3a) came through in the clutch for Minnesota on the road, tallying both of his goals in the final 10 minutes of play. His second score of the evening came on a beautiful acrobatic shot from behind the net to give Minnesota a 14-13 advantage.
Both of the Swarm’s goalies saw significant action against the Stealth as Patterson replaced G Kevin Croswell midway through the third quarter. The switch provided just the spark Minnesota needed in the second half to re-gain momentum. Patterson collected 13 saves in 23 minutes, while Croswell finished with 30 saves in 37 minutes.
With second place on the line in the West Division, both teams failed to disappoint in the league’s final contest of the night. Saturday’s 31 combined goals rank as the highest scoring game the Swarm has played in this season and a total of nine players recorded a goal for Minnesota.
In the victory, Washington now controls its own destiny to host a home playoff game. Minnesota will have to win its remaining two games at home against Philadelphia (5-9) and Colorado (4-10 and have Washington drop its season finale at home against Rochester (7-6) to secure second place.
As is stands right now, the Swarm will visit Comcast Arena at Everett for a third time this season in the first round of the playoffs during the weekend of April 29 – May 1. Minnesota has won two of three contests against Washington this season, including a 16-8 win in Everett on Jan. 14.
The Swarm returns home to Treasure Island Field at Xcel Energy Center to take on the Philadelphia Wings (5-9) next Saturday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m. for the second annual Hive Cares Night. Swarm players will wear pink jerseys and helmets as part of an NLL initiative to help “Black Out Cancer.” Proceeds raised from the event will benefit the Randy Shaver Cancer Research & Community Fund.
Lower level single game tickets can be purchased for as low as $24 for the Swarm’s remaining two home games in April. Tickets are available online at mnswarm.com or by calling 888-MN-SWARM.
Tune into Fox-9 tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. as head coach Mike Lines and assistant coach Joe Sullivan will be on Game On! with Rod Simons.