February 20, 2010

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Swarm Cruises to 15-5 Win over Mammoth

from press release

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The National Lacrosse League’s (NLL) Minnesota Swarm (3-4) had never beaten the Colorado Mammoth (2-5) in franchise history, a streak dating back to 2005. That all changed Saturday night when the Swarm powered their way to a 15-5 victory in front of 9,223 fans at Xcel Energy Center. The win gave the Swarm its first winning streak of the season and puts Minnesota in the West Division’s fourth and final playoff spot heading into the stretch run.

F Callum Crawford (4g, 5a) and F Ryan Benesch (3g, 6a) led the Swarm with nine points each. F Aaron Wilson added eight points (2g, 6a). After allowing three goals early in the first quarter, G Nick Patterson closed up shop, stopping 25 shots behind a stellar team-defensive effort. The Swarm scored nine unanswered goals in the second half to bury Colorado in front of the home crowd.

On the cusp of a midseason turnaround, Minnesota’s second-straight victory is a sign of things to come. It was an all-around solid performance.

“We continued right where we left off last week,” Head Coach Mike Lines said. “We gained some confidence with some big goals from guys who really stepped it up. It’s definitely a good sign.”

The Mammoth and Swarm are no strangers to one another. The historically rivaled teams played two preseason games against each other along with a regular-season meeting last month, which Colorado prevailed in a thrilling 15-14 overtime finish. The final regular-season meeting is set next Saturday at 8:00 p.m. CST in Colorado with Western Division playoff hopes hanging in the balance.

Colorado jumped out to an early 3-0 lead before the big man, D Rich Morgan (1g, 2a), powered his way to the net for a shorthanded tally. Benesch ripped one from the point early in the second quarter. After another Colorado score, assistant captain D Eric Pacey (1g, 0a) received a pass downfield from Morgan on a quick transition for a breakaway goal to pull the Swarm within one.

The Mammoth received a five-minute penalty and the Swarm made the most of it. F Kevin Ross (2g, 2a) buried a power-play goal from the side of the net for his sixth goal of the year. With two minutes left in the half, Crawford showcased a smooth spin move to give the Swarm its first lead of the game. Just 21 seconds later, Crawford tallied his second of the night to give the Swarm momentum heading into the break.

Some rough stuff at the end of the second quarter fueled a strong second half from Minnesota. Benesch continued rolling, taking a quick pass from Ross and stuffing his second goal of the game. Wilson, Minnesota’s leading scorer, stretched the lead to 8-5 before Crawford completed the hat trick.

Minnesota’s all-time leading goal scorer, F Sean Pollock (2g, 2a) converted on a pretty passing play to give the Swarm a comfortable five-goal cushion early in the fourth quarter. Minnesota ran away with it after that, scoring nine unanswered goals to seal it.


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