The Swarm will take on the Colorado Mammoth tomorrow night at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The game will be at 8:00 CST and can be found on mnswarm.com, the Lacrosse network's YouTube channel, and Altitude TV channel, if you have that. The Swarm are presently 1-3 while the Mammoth are 2-5. The Mammoth are last in the West, where the Swarm are last in the East.
Last week, the Swarm did announce that they acquired Dane Stevens from Edmonton for a 2014 draft pick, but it is unclear whether or not he'll play this weekend. The hope is, however, that the acquisition of Stevens will shake up Minnesota's struggling offense.
Leading in points for the Swarm are Callum Crawford and Jordan MacIntosh. MacIntosh also has a 51.2 faceoff percentage going into this week. Kiel Matisz is putting on a good sophomore showing thus far, having notched 6 goals for the team lead, along with three assists. Number one pick, Logan Schuss continues to impress with 5 goals, 3 assists and 1 fight so far this season.
On the other side, the Mammoth feature several league leaders in various categories; they just seem to be lacking the ability to put it all together. Adam Jones alone leads in several categories including points, goals, and shots on goal, followed very closely by John Grant Jr. Bob Snider leads in loose balls and is the undisputed leader in faceoffs. Rookie goaltender, Dillon Ward shows up among the leaders in the wins and saves categories. The Mammoth may also be boosted this week by the return of Casey Powell who missed the first 7 games due to personal reasons.
I'm not going to take a detailed look at numbers this week. Despite a low scoring, lower shooting game on the 25th, I don't believe they've changed that much, so I will have a deeper look at them following this game for next week's preview.
Keys to success for this game obviously include shutting down Jones and Grant Jr. Drew Westervelt will also make his return to the roster this weekend, and he chips in 25 points. Sean Pollock is another one to watch. Interestingly, it is those 4 with 10+ goals, and then Athan Iannuci with 3. Despite having won 115 faceoffs so far this season, Snider's faceoff win percentage is 58.1, so it really isn't hugely different than MacIntosh's, but as always, control is key.
Tye Belanger has struggled this season, so on one hand, I wouldn't be surprised to see Ward in the net. On the other hand, the Swarm are struggling offensively, so this might be a game for Belanger. With the high number of shots the swarm do fire on net, I do tend to lean towards Ward, however.
When we last met, it was round one of last years playoffs (April 20, 2013). The Swarm lost 14-16. That night, Ryan Benesch became the Swarm's second highest scorer with 334 points. Shayne Jackson set the record for rookie points in a season with 63. Kiel Matisz was right behind him at 62. Jordan MacIntosh set the record for loose balls in a single season with 197. Callum Crawford led in scoring with 6 points (2 g, 4 a). Matt Gibson had a career high of 5 points (2 g 3 a). On the other side, Adam Jones had 8 points, Casey Powell had 4, and Grant Jr and Sean Pollock both had 5.
Hockey Wilderness Number to Watch: #33 David Earl
Earl is a transition player for the Swarm and is in his third year with them. He has 25 points through 31 career games. He is in the group trying out for team Canada for the World Field Lacrosse Championship this summer. He's not a super flashy player, but he's noticeable. And more importantly, he's reliable, and occasionally, very surprising.