NLL Lacrosse: Minnesota Swarm vs Buffalo Bandits - Opener Preview

Angela Taylor - ACT1 Photography

The Swarm will be taking to the field in Buffalo this Saturday against the Bandits for their season opener.

After a defeat by the Edmonton Rush in the division finals to finish last season, the Swarm look to start their season in Buffalo on Saturday. The Buffalo Bandits fell in the division semifinals last year. Last year, in meetings between these two teams, they split the series with each team taking the home game.

The Swarm have said goodbye to Joe Cinosky, Jamie Schewchuk, Brendon Doran, Matt Kelly, and Richard Morgan, and welcomed new additions Matt Gibson, Shayne Jackson, Alex Crepinsek, Michael O’Brien, and Kiel Matisz.

Last season, the swarm received plenty of accolades with Andrew Suitor being named “Transition Player of the Year,” John Arlotta, “GM of the Year,” Coach Joe Sullivan, the “Les Bartley Award,” and Andy Arlotta, the “Executive of the Year award.” The Swarm also had representatives in the All Star game in Ryan Benesch, Andrew Suitor, Callum Crawford, & Jordan MacIntosh.

The team oozed chemistry last season, and hopefully the departures and additions did nothing to diminish that. Hopefully they can keep building on their off season successes and start the season off with a win. However, they’re going to have to do it without Captain Andrew Suitor who still has 2 games left on a game misconduct suspension that carried over from last season.

The Bandits return a similar roster to last season, and have named the man, the myth, the legend, John Tavares as the captain for the 2013 season. In addition to Tavares, the Swarm will need to watch Luke Wiles (39 goals, 31 assists in 2012) and Mark Steenhuis (27G, 35A). Former Swarm players Mat Giles & Aaron Wilson will also be a threat, one the Swarm should already be familiar with.

This could mark the first time that the Swarm get a crack at goalie Anthony Cosmo, who refused to report to the team after the drafted him in the Boston dispersal draft. Cosmo is widely regarded as one of the best goalies in the league, and Arlotta drafted him knowing full well Cosmo may never report. Arlotta traded the rights to Cosmo mid season, and added two first round picks for the trouble. Cosmo did not have a great season, finishing with a 3-4 record.

Expect the game to fast and furious as the NLL season opens up. It is, after all, the fastest game on two feet.

The games will be airing on the NLL’s youtube Channel this year and home games will be airing on Channel 45 a day or so after they are played. This game will be on YouTube and I’ll post a link when I post the game thread. For those unfamiliar with the game of Lacrosse, feel free to familiarize yourself by visiting Lacrosse 101.

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