January 19, 2010

NLL: Swarm Looking for Back-to-Back Wins

from press release

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – After avenging a season-opening loss to the Calgary Roughnecks in front of 11,758 fans at Xcel Energy Center last Friday night, 12-10, the National Lacrosse League’s Minnesota Swarm (1-1) will play host to the Colorado Mammoth (0-2) Friday at 7:35 p.m. Central.

Fueled by an energetic crowd, Minnesota managed to build an early 6-2 lead over the Roughnecks behind a balanced scoring attack and stellar goaltending play from goalie Nick Patterson. Key goals from Jay Thorimbert, Jon Sullivan and Sean Pollock (1g, 2a) jumpstarted the Swarm and gave them a 3-1 advantage at the end of the first quarter. From there, Minnesota’s offense continued to stay hot.

Rookie Zack Greer led the Swarm with five points (1g, 4a) and 10 players scored at least one goal, which included two from forwards Tim Campeau (2g, 2a) and Aaron Wilson (2g, 2a).

Defensively, the Swarm delivered punishing hits all night long. Several of those came from Sullivan and newly acquired defenseman Rich Morgan, who used his 6’8” 260-pound frame to his advantage. In return, the Swarm stifled Calgary’s offense and shut the Roughnecks out in the third quarter to build a 9-5 lead.

Minnesota would maintain that momentum through the final quarter, and Patterson was named the “Toyota Player of the Game” after finishing with 10 goals against, 41 saves and one assist to give the Swarm their first victory of the season.

“We really wanted to win and get revenge after dropping the first one to them in Calgary,” said Patterson. “I just did what I had to do and tried to give my team a chance to win. Everyone is feeling great right now.”

This week, the Swarm will face a Mammoth team that has yet to win a game. Colorado dropped its season opener to the Washington Stealth on the road, 17-8, and most recently lost at home to Edmonton, 14-13, despite out-shooting the Rush, 54-37.

“Anytime you are playing a team that does not have a win, you know they are going to be hungry. We expect it to be a physical game,” said head coach Mike Lines.

The Swarm have already faced the Mammoth twice this season in Colorado, but that was earlier in the preseason.

“I don’t think that will be a factor heading into this week’s game just for the simple fact that those games were during exhibition play,” explained Lines. “This time around they will have different players coming in and out of the lineup so we expect them to be a new look team.”

With last week’s victory, Lines picked up his first career win with the Swarm. To produce similar results this week, Lines emphasized that his squad will once again need strong play on defense as well as a team effort on offense.

“We are going to go as far as our goaltending takes us. Our defense has to step up and play even better than they did last week,” said Lines. “On top of that, we will need to get secondary scoring on offense. We aren’t going to be that team that has one guy score a bunch of goals, we need everyone to get their fair share.”

Colorado finished second in the West last season with a 7-9 record and holds a 4-0 series advantage over the Swarm. The Mammoth beat Minnesota twice last season, 13-8 on the road (Feb. 7) and 13-11 at home (March 22).

This week, fans in attendance can come help celebrate “American Indian Heritage Night” at Xcel Energy Center, where traditional songs, dances and a lacrosse match will take place between the Oneida and Menominee tribes during halftime. Fans will also receive Swarm headbands and can head over to a post-game party at Eagle Street Grille for drink specials after the game.

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