... and reinvigorated as “Air Ross”, albeit with a little less air. In the 4th quarter Ross used his deceptive athleticism to slam dunk the ball into the net from behind the net. Caines: “That’s a lot harder than it looks. Ross can do it because he’s such a great athlete. That’s nearly impossible to defend and Ross practices that a lot.”
Swarm vs. Philadelphia Preview
I’m sure your high speed internet connection was burning like mine was on Saturday night around 11:45 pm Central time when the Swarm managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I had trouble imagining what the coaching staff would say to the players in the locker room after the game… would they be angry, resigned, frustrated… I went to bed wondering. But in talking with Swarm Assistant Coach Aime Caines this week; I was surprised at his and the coaching staff’s reaction. “We didn’t really need to say much to the guys,” says Caines. “We knew what happened. The main takeaway for us is that we know we can beat that team and we know we can win in their arena. We scored 15 goals against them on Saturday and even though we let in 16, we played without three of our best defenders in Rory Smith (out serving a one game suspension), Eric Pacey and Andrew Watt (both out due to injuries). We look forward to playing them again in the postseason, wherever it is.”
While the Swarm’s playoff opponent is set (they’ll play the Washington Stealth regardless of what happens the next two weeks), the site of that game remains up in the air. If the Swarm win their last two games at the Hive (this weekend against Philadelphia and next weekend against Colorado), and if the Stealth lose this weekend at home against Rochester, the Swarm will host the Stealth in Round 1. “We need to regroup,” says Caines. “We lost the ability to control our own destiny but we need to do what we can to win these next two games and let the chips fall where they may. The game meant something, sure, but it didn’t mean our whole season. We need to make sure we go into the postseason with momentum unlike last year. That begins Saturday against the Wings.”
There is another element to losing in Washington on Saturday night… a silver lining that glows even with the ghastly way the game ended. After beating the Stealth twice already this season (in Washington January 14th 16-8 and at the Hive 11-10 in OT on January 29th), the law of averages was bound to even out, and better now than later. “It’s very hard to beat a team three times in a row in a season,” says Caines, “never mind four times. And it’s that final playoff game that really matters. It’s gonna be a battle either way and we know we can win in their barn.”
A singular bright side to the Washington game was the play of the offense. Simply put, the O was clicking on all cylinders. 15 goals (second highest tally of the season, second only to their 16 goals scored against Washington in January) on 36 shots is an astounding statistic… and there’s even more to be happy about. Caines: “I thought we looked real good offensively. Our power play looked strong (60% with 3 goals on 5 attempts) and 12 even strength goals, which we’ve struggled with… all in all I’m happy with the performance.” Not to mention three more goals for league leading Ryan Benesch (40 in 14 games, tied with Washington’s Rhys Duch who has 40 in 15 games) and a highlight goal by #71 Kevin Ross. There’s “Air Gait” (invented by Syracuse legend Gary Gait who flew over the back of the outdoor net for a goal), brought to Minnesota by Dan Marohl two years ago (who would camp out behind the net… fake to one side, and then launch himself horizontally to the left or right just beating the goalie) and reinvigorated as “Air Ross”, albeit with a little less air. In the 4th quarter Ross used his deceptive athleticism to slam dunk the ball into the net from behind the net. Caines: “That’s a lot harder than it looks. Ross can do it because he’s such a great athlete. That’s nearly impossible to defend and Ross practices that a lot.”
Switching gears now from the sublime athleticism of Kevin Ross to the sartorial splendor behind the Swarm bench. While it’s often hard to focus on what the coaches are wearing during the games at the Hive, it’s easier for me when the team is on the road. So without further ado, our first in-depth look at the coaching staff’s game day outfits.
Head Coach Mike Lines: Linesy looks fabulous after losing a lot of weight over the last two years, and he’s leveraged his new svelte look with an awesome game day wardrobe. “Mike’s not as limited as he was in the past and he’s gone out of the box,” says Caines. “He has some funky colors (like the chartreuse number he’s worn lately) and you have to be a confident man to wear some of that stuff. So there’s that.”
Assistant Coach Joe Sullivan: “Joe likes the color blue”, says Caines. “Blue suit, blue shirt, blue tie. I call him Homer Simpson because he wears the same shirt and tie game after game. He’s changed it up a bit lately… moving from the blue tie to the blue and yellow striped tie. We’re proud of him for that.”
Assistant Coach Aime Caines: “I wear whatever my wife (Marketing Director Brooke Caines) tells me to wear. She lays out my shirt and tie and I go with it. This week it’s Hive Cares so we’ll all have pink ties on… we’ll look like a wedding party but that’s cool. Plus, pink highlights my eyes.”
*I added that last line… sorry Aime!