February 8, 2013

Swarm Outlast Rock in Overtime

from press release

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The National Lacrosse League's (NLL) Minnesota Swarm (2-3) grabbed its second win of the 2013 season in an overtime game Friday night as they bested the Toronto Rock (5-2) 13-12 at Xcel Energy Center in the team's first meeting in Minnesota since 2008. The Swarm played at Toronto Jan. 25 and fell 13-12, but 7,722 fans at The Hive provided the right atmosphere for the Swarm to flip the score and improve to 2-0 at home.

Swarm T Tyler Hass was hot from the get-go, scoring the first two goals of the game for Minnesota. The Victoria, British Columbia native took a blind side hit at the beginning of a first quarter fast break, managed to stay on his feet and outfoxed the goaltender to give the Swarm an early 2-1 advantage. But it was Hass' final goal that sealed a hat trick for the 6-foot-6 transition player and provided the 13-12 overtime victory.

"Tonight was huge," Hass said. "Teams have been adapting to us this year. I've found they're sending two, three guys back and we got what we wanted tonight."

However, that final score would not have been possible without superb goaltending from Tyler Carlson. On the Rock's last offensive possession of the game the left-handed netminder deftly shifted from the right side of the net to the left in a flash to block a powerful shot. The Swarm scooped up the loose ball as it ricocheted off of their goaltender and ignited the fast break that led to Hass's game-deciding goal. Carlson made 35 saves on the game en route to a .745 save percentage.

"Tyler Carlson played unbelievable tonight, he was so solid in net," Swarm assistant coach Bobby Keast said afterward. In the first half, our defense allowed only two goals in 5-on-5 situations and that's all I can really ask for."

F Corbyn Tao provided pivotal offensive firepower in the second half, tying up the game at 8 apiece in the third quarter and giving Minnesota an 11-10 lead with 8:24 left in the fourth. Both goals were Tao's first of the season.

F Ryan Benesch and D Mitch Belisle were the epitome of steady unselfish play throughout the night, each finishing with four assists. Belisle's first three dishes of the night accompanied the Swarm's first three goals, with his crowning moment coming in the second quarter as he flattened a Toronto player with a pancake hit, scooped up the ball, and passed up to a streaking Kiel Matisz who found the back of the net. Matisz continued his strong rookie campaign with three points (2g, 1a).

Forward Jay Card, T Andrew Watt and Rookie T Brock Sorensen all finished with two points in Saturday's contest.

Per usual, Team Captain Andrew Suitor was a regular contributor on the defensive end and scored a critical breakaway goal in the fourth period.

Forward Stephan Leblanc finished the game with seven points (1g, 6a) for Toronto and goalie Nick Rose collected 41 saves in the loss.

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