January 27, 2012

Minneosta Hosts Bandits in Home Opener

from press release

– The National Lacrosse League's (NLL) Minnesota Swarm (0-1) will host its home opener this Saturday, January 28 against the Buffalo Bandits (2-0) on Treasure Island Field at Xcel Energy Center. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m. Minnesota is entering its eighth season of play in the NLL this year.

After a season opening 20-14 road loss to the Colorado Mammoth (3-0) two weeks ago, Minnesota is looking to post its first victory in 2012 this Saturday against the Bandits. The Swarm had a bye last weekend.

"Every game in general this season is going to be extremely important and tough," coach Mike Lines said. "The overall league itself is going to be really tight. You're going to see a lot of close games that are decided by one or two goals. Every game is going to come down to a couple of plays here and there."

Historically, the Bandits have been one of the Swarm's toughest opponents from the East Division. Minnesota lost both of its contests to Buffalo last season, but with a new-look roster in 2012, Lines stated that he isn't worried about what's happened in the past. "With the amount of new faces that we have on the roster this season, we can't look at the past," he said. "Playing against Buffalo is a game everyone gets pumped up for... It's a fresh start for everybody this season."

In front of 14,106 fans at Pepsi Center on Jan. 14, the Swarm had no problem finding the back of the net against Colorado. Forward Callum Crawford led the team with nine points (4g, 5a) and the NLL's defending scoring champion F Ryan Benesch added seven points (3g, 4a). Newly elected team captain T Andrew Suitor collected a team-high 13 loose balls and also registered a goal.

"Offensively we did a great job of moving the ball," Associate General Manager Joe Sullivan said. "The ball didn't slow down, it didn't get stuck in one stick and the guys were setting good, hard picks to open each other up. Everything was clicking and they were finding the net."

Despite the solid performance on offense, the team was not pleased to begin the 2012 season with a loss. "The loss didn't sit well with any of us," Sullivan said. "We're going into every game with the intention of winning and to outwork our opponents."

This Saturday offers Swarm fans the chance to see 12 new players in person, including 2011 first round draft picks T Jordan MacIntosh (4th overall) and G Evan Kirk (6th overall). In his NLL debut against Colorado, MacIntosh scored his first career goal and finished with four points (1g, 3a), while winning 27/37 faceoffs (73%). Rookie forwards Corbyn Tao and Jay Card also recorded their first career goals in the loss.

"Jordan did a phenomenal job on faceoffs and pushing the ball up the floor," Lines said. "Corbyn and Jay showed a lot of great energy and both played well in their NLL debuts."

Be one of the first 5,000 fans in attendance on Saturday night and you will receive a Swarm cowbell. You won't want to miss this one, as the Swarm will also debut their new home uniforms for the 2012 season. Tickets start as low as $20 and can be purchased by calling 1-888-MN-SWARM or visiting mnswarm.com.

The Swarm's home opener is sponsored by Treasure Island Resort & Casino and is themed Native American Heritage Night. Local tribal communities will be recognized and a traditional Native American lacrosse match will take place at halftime.

Fans not in attendance on Saturday can watch the game LIVE on the NLL Network by visiting NLL.com. A delayed broadcast of the Swarm's home opener will air on Channel 45 on Sunday at 4 p.m. Fans can also tune into home Swarm games on the radio on SAM 101.5 FM in the Brainerd Lakes Area.

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