The Swarm and Stealth both knew the stakes coming into this game. Second place in the West guarantees a home field playoff game, and both teams wanted that for their fans. From the onset, neither side wanted to let this game go, but neither side looked to be willing to lock down the defense, either.
Trading goals the entire game, the Swarm finally fell 30 seconds into over time 16-15 to end a thriller of a match-up. The Swarm had previously won both meeting with the Stealth this season.
The Stealth’s Lewis Ratcliff potted the “sock trick” with six goals, and added five assists, and teammate Rhys Duch added five goals and five assists of his own as the Swarm just could not find an answer for the pair. Between the two, they directed 26 of the Stealth’s 60 shots on goal.
Even Nick Patterson replacing Kevin Croswell wasn’t enough, although, Patterson made some huge saves to keep his team alive during a Stealth onslaught late. However, the Stealth would tie the game with just over 20 seconds left in the fourth, driving the game to overtime.
The Swarm won the faceoff in OT, but a strong forecheck by the Stealth led to a loose ball, and the first offensive chance of the extra frame would be all they would need. Duch put it past Patterson just 30 seconds, and the flip flop game was over.
The Swarm fall to 6-8, and the Stealth climb to 8-7, with just two games left for the Swarm. The Swarm are not eliminated from the second spot just yet, but the Stealth would need to lose against the Rochester Knighthawks, and the Swarm would have to win out.
Far from impossible.
Be there on Saturday as the Swarm present “The Hive Cares” night at the X. Tickets still available at mnswarm.com. See post below for details on the evening.
The Swarm and Stealth are both going to the playoffs, of that, there is no question. What has yet to be determined is who claims second place, and who gets the home playoff games. Tonight’s battle in Washington will go a long way toward determining that final decision.
Undoubtedly, both teams want the home game, and both teams will be battling hard. The Swarm have to have some swagger going into this one, knowing they have already beaten the defending NLL champions twice this season, including a 16-8 curb stomping on January 14th that included 7 goals from Ryan Benesch.
Swarm coach Mike Lines said, “It’s been our goal from the beginning of the year to have a home playoff game. We know the importance of it, but at the same time we can’t pretend like it’s the end of the world if we don’t get it.”
Some things to watch for from Swarm PR:
- Saturday’s game features the league’s Top 3 scorers in Swarm F Ryan Benesch (37g) and Stealth forwards Rhys Duch (35g) and Lewis Ratcliff (33g). Benesch needs three goals to tie the Swarm’s all-time single season record of 40 goals set by F Aaron Wilson in 2010.
- Washington’s power play ranks first in the NLL at 50.8%, while Minnesota’s penalty kill ranks fourth at 60.5%.
- The Stealth leads the league in goals (177) and goals per game at 12.64.
- Minnesota is 3-3 on the road, while Washington has posted a 2-4 record at home.
- Minnesota leads the all-time regular season series 7-2. Both teams will likely also meet again in the first round of the 2011 Playoffs. Washington defeated Minnesota at home last year in the first round of the postseason 14-10.
The game can be streamed live on Swarm.com, and SBNation Minnesota will be providing updates on Twitter (@SBNMinnesota). As always, check out In Lax We Trust for a game thread and a chance to interact with fellow NLL fans.
The Minnesota Swarm have clinched their playoff spot, they are locked into their efforts to secure a home playoff game, and on top of all of that, they have decided to take on caner as well. Partnered with the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund, the Swarm will donate proceeds from the events the evening of April 16th, against the Philadelphia Wings.
The event is part of the NLL's "Black Out Cancer" initiative.
As part of the fundraising, the Swarm will wear pink jerseys and pick helmets, all of which are being auctioned off. The jersey auction (ending Arpil 28th) will beneift Minnesota lacrosse initiatives, and the helmet auction (ending May 3rd) will benefit RSCRCF.
The sweaters and helmets will be worn in game, making them a rare and highly prized piece of Swarm memorabilia. The auctions are open now, so place your bids.
Other fundraisers that night include:
Ticket Sales - $1 from the sale of each individual game or group ticket sold.
Corporate Donations - area companies are contributing to this event by purchasing game tickets to be donated to cancer survivors and their families. A portion of their donation will go directly to the Randy Shaver Cancer Research & Community Fund.
Coaches Challenge - Swarm Head Coach Mike Lines will donate $10 per Swarm goal scored. Individuals and companies are encouraged to match Coach Lines' donations.
Helmet Auction- Proceeds from the auction of the pink Reebok helmets the team will wear will go to the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund.
SPT Calendar- $1 from the sale of each Swarm Performance Team Calendar will go directly to the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund.
Hive Cares T-Shirt - $3 from the purchase of each commemorative Hive Cares T-Shirt will go directly to the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund.