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.