Minnesota Swarm 16 - 17 Calgary Roughnecks
The Swarm came into last night's game knowing they needed a win to pull back to .500 and get back into the heat of the playoff race. After dropping another close game, the Swarm have to wondering what they are doing wrong and how to correct it.
The game did not start well for the Swarm, with Calgary easily winning faceoffs and seeming to score at will. Evan Kirk looked human in net for the Swarm, and the defense was much less physical than they were against the Rock, and the Roughnecks took advantage of that drop in play. In very unSwarm-like play, the team was quickly very far behind, and looking at a massive comeback to have chance.
A major penalty to Shayne Jackson would allow the Roughnecks to put up three goals as the half played out, something Assistant Coach Aime Canes noted as the team went into the locker room. Interviewed by the Toyota Professor, Coines said the team "got in penalty trouble" and needed to be more disciplined in the second half.
By the end of the first half, the Swarm had pulled within four, but had not narrowed the gap in shots on goal, which would be the theme all night. Coach Joe Sullivan would make adjustments coming into the second half, and the Swarm would outscore the Roughnecks 8-4 in the third to complete the comeback.
At one point, the Swarm were on a run, and Geoff Snider looked like he faked an injury to buy his team some time to rest and slow the momentum. Obviously, there is never going to be proof of that, but he laid on the field and let the trainer come out, and magically was not only OK, but never missed a shift. It looked like a muscle cramp, but what you were seeing was an Oscar worthy performance.
In the fourth quarter, though, the game would really ramp up the intensity. Both teams trading goals, the Swarm at one point gaining their first lead of the game, and the physical play really heating up. When Snider threw a vicious elbow into the head of Tyler Hass, the Swarm had their own chance to pull ahead with the five minute major giving them ample opportunity.
Instead, the Roughnecks would score two very easy transition goals as the Swarm got a bit lazy as they switched out to the defense on their power play. Give the team solid credit for battling back from the hole they dug, but it just wasn't to be.
In the end, the Swarm would send message with two big wins in fights from Andrew Suitor and Nic Bilic, but the Roughnecks would take the two points. Win the battles, but lose the war. The Swarm take their first home loss of the season, and look forward to a home & home against the Edmonton Rush next weekend.