Yes, Minnesota sports fans, you read that title correctly. The Minnesota Swarm can clinch their playoff spot tonight with a win against the Washington Stealth at the Xcel Energy Center. Now, eight of the nine teams make the playoffs, but still, it is more than the four "major" pro teams in our fair state can say this season.
The Swarm still have plenty to prove, after dropping four straight (including an embarrassing 20-13 loss against Washington three weeks ago) before getting back on track in Philadelphia last weekend. Coming home should give the team a boost, and with a three game homestand to finish out the season, the Swarm will be looking to finish strong and get back north of the .500 mark.
Many individual players are looking to finish strong as well. From MNSwarm.com:
Seventh-year forward Callum Crawford leads the Swarm with 61 points and 43 assists in 2012. Having missed the past three games with a concussion, F Ryan Benesch still ranks first on the team in goals (25) and power play goals (9). In Benesch's absence, F Kevin Ross posted 14 points (6g, 8a) and in the process set new career-highs in points (44) and goals (21).
All of that adds up to plenty of players with plenty of motivation, and a return home to only add to the energy.
By the way, plenty of fun to be had on this homestand. Today, the Swarm host the media covering the team in a media game, and also are offering discounted tickets for college students. Next weekend is "The Hive Cares" night, with jersey auctions going on on MNSwarm.com, and other fundraisers for the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund.