In the preview of this game, we mentioned that the Swarm needed to do three things: keep Rhys Duch in check, shore up the defense, and get the transition game under control. After dropping tonight’s game 20-13, it is safe to say, the Swarm did not do any of those things.
The Swarm have established a new pattern, and it is a troubling one. Giving up a handful of early goals before the get started, and then not being able to dig their way out of the hole. Tonight was no different. The Swarm fell behind 5-1 in the first, before kicking it into gear in the second.
By that point, the Stealth had already built enough of a lead to weather the storm, and the Swarm just could not find a way to solve Tyler Richards. In the end, both sides put 62 shots on goal, but the Stealth found ways through Evan Kirk and Tyler Carlson, while Richards stood tall and kept the Swarm at bay.
Duch had a ten point night with four goals and six assists, giving the Swarm defense fits. He was given too much space, and made the Swarm pay for it. Even when they slowed him down, he drew enough attention to open up other threats from the Stealth, and gave them the chances, even if they weren’t his.
On the opposite side of the coin, the Swarm’s leading scorer was Jay Card, with just four points. Ryan Benesch was held to just one goal and two assists, Callum Crawford the same totals.
In the end, the game turned into a run and gun shootout, with both sides trading goals in transition. This wound up with a 6-5 edge in scoring in the fourth quarter for the Swarm, but it was too little too late. The Swarm drop to 5-5, and the Stealth improve to 4-8.
The Swarm have some big questions to answer. The offense hasn’t clicked in two games, the defense is being picked apart, and the transition game is costing them games early and late. Coach Joe Sullivan needs to find a way to get the team jump started. Perhaps their return to St. Paul will provide that jump.
The Swarm are back in action Friday night at home at Saturday in Edmonton.