Minnesota Swarm 13 - 12 Toronto Rock (OT)
The Minnesota Swarm came into the game tonight with a mission, a chip on their shoulder, and a message to send.
The Swarm came out fast and physical, matching step for step with the best team in the league (according to the standings). The Rock play hard nosed lacrosse, and the Swarm did not back down from any of it. Hit for hit, shot for shot, every time the Rock made a move, the Swarm were there, and then some. There weren't any big leads to be had for any team, no runs to speak of, and the defense from both sides was absolutely incredible.
Yes, the Swarm defense was more than solid tonight, anchored by a performance from Tyler Carlson that will have to be considered for defensive player of the week honors. Carlson was mobile, positionally sound, and according to Tyler Hass, told the team before the game that "if they want to bomb away from the outside, I'll make the saves." He did just that, which freed up the Swarm transition game and led to multiple goals on the night. The save of the night from Carlson came on a break away, in over time, with a stone cold stop that led to Hass' breakaway to win the game.
The offense for the Swarm was not clicking tonight, due mainly to the Rock playing shut down defense for most of the night. Ryan Benesch, Andrew Suitor, and Callum Crawford accounted for one goal total on the night. The five on five game could not seem to solve Nick Rose, except when the Swarm finally started pushing inside and making Rose move.
With the offense locked down, the transition game stepped up huge. Hass' three goals all came in transition, Andrew Watt added two more, and the bulk of the remainder of the goals came quickly after possession changed.
Secondary scoring is the key to victory in just about every sport. When the top guys are shut down, the others have to step up, and that happened for the Swarm tonight. Hass said that teams "seem to have keyed in on us a bit, but now they know if they cover those three (Benesch, Crawford, and Suitor), we're still going to score."
While the Swarm likely would have preferred to walk away with this one, and avoid the drama of heading to over time, a win is a win, and this one had to feel good. After losing to the Rock in the season opener, the Swarm wanted revenge. Turns out, they got it, a win in the standings, and a moral victory that should help boost the confidence of a young Swarm team.
The Swarm move to 2-3 on the season, and the Rock fall to 5-2. Next up for the Swarm are the Calgary Roughnecks on February 16th. Tickets are still available. Don't miss out.
Three Stars of the Game
1. Tyler Carlson (35 saves)
2. Tyler Hass (3G)
3. Stephan Leblanc (1G, 6A)
1. Second home game, second win? Absolutely.
2. Can the Swarm defense pull it together? The defense was stunning tonight. If they can play like that the rest of the season, they'll never lose.
3. Shayne Jackson and Kiel Matisz have won back to back Rookie of the Week awards. Do either deserve it again after tonight? Matisz was everywhere tonight. He could certainly be considered.
4. Who is the hero for the Swarm tonight? Tyler Carlson. Huge performance.
5. Can the Swarm pull out a win for the heroes in the crowd? Indeed. Nailed it.