The Minnesota Swarm needed a win on the road. Winless in their first two, the urgency was there, and the time was right to get the first one behind them. Facing the surprisingly 1-5 Washington Stealth gave them a prime opportunity to impress new head coach Joe Sullivan, and to get above .500 for the second time on the season.
Things seemed to be going rather splendidly for both sides, with each side scoring three in the first quarter, and headed into the second each thinking of more of the same. It wouldn’t stay that quiet.
By the time the half ended, the Swarm would have gone on a 7-0 run, and the Stealth had no chance. Swarm rookies Jordan MacIntosh, Corbin Tao, and Jay Card led the charge along with All-Star Ryan Benesch. The Stealth simply had no answer for the Swarm offense, all while the Swarm defense went into lock down mode and held the Stealth to outside shots that Evan Kirk could stop easily.
It was one of the best quarters of lacrosse the Swarm have played in two years. It wouldn’t last.
The third quarter was one of the worst quarters of the year for the Swarm. Penalty after penalty gave the Stealth too many chances to get back in the game, especially a five minute major to Swarm captain Andrew Suitor. However, the Swarm pulled together, found a way to kill the penalties, and get their game back into a groove.
The fourth quarter would see the Swarm pull back ahead, and never look back. The offense got going again, the defense remained solid, and the Swarm won it by a large margin.
This was definitely a statement game, even if it was against the last place team. Both the offense and defense played well, and Evan Kirk showed he can hold down the fort when things get out of hand. Sullivan has to be happy with the way his team performed, especially in the 2nd, and will likely have some conversations about discipline regarding the 3rd, but overall, it was a solid effort.
A massive improvement for the Swarm offense. In the last game, six different players scored goals, but only one scored more than one. Tonight, ten different players scored and five scored two each. Benesch had 2G and 6A, Kevin Ross has 2G and 4 A, and Crawford has 2G and 2A. An impressive turn around from a week ago.
With the win, the Swarm improve to 4-3 on the year, knocking the Stealth to 1-6. This is the first road win of the season for the Swarm, who remain on the road for the next three weeks.
Next up, however, is the All-Star game tomorrow in Buffalo for Ryan Benesch, Callum Crawford, Jordan MacIntosh, and Andrew Suitor. That game can be watched on the NLL Network on NLL.com, and also on ESPN3 inside the US.