Ryan Benesch completed his hat trick in overtime as Minnesota topped Edmonton 10-9 on Friday night in the second-longest game in NLL history. (Photo Credit: Scott Pierson)
Minnesota All-Star Ryan Benesch pushed his streak of consecutive games with at least three goals to four on Friday night.
He needed just over 12 minutes of overtime to keep his run going.
In the second-longest game in NLL history, the Swarm beat the Edmonton Rush 10-9 at the Xcel Energy Center.
“I wanted to make sure that I at least got it on the net. Luckily, it went in. It was on my wrong side so there is not much you can do from there.” Benesch said of the game-winner that completed his latest hat trick with 2:37 to play.
Both goaltenders were solid throughout. Edmonton All-Star Aaron Bold turned away 41 of 51 shots while Minnesota rookie Tyler Carlson stopped 32 of 41.
Bold kept the Rush in the game after they allowed 23 shots on goal in the opening half. The teams went into the break tied at five.
“He was awesome. He’s been great all year and when you get goaltending performances like that you have to win games.” Edmonton coach and general manager Derek Keenan said.
Carlson recorded his second win of the season in three starts, both coming at home.
“Hats off to him. He played a phenomenal game,” Bold said of Carlson.
In sudden death, any mistake by a goaltender could result in a loss, a fact Carlson knew full well.
“It’s tough. You’ve (got to) know the next goal could cause you to lose. The next shot could be the last shot so you’ve (got to) make sure it’s not,” he said.
Minnesota came into the game leading the league in scoring at 15.7 goals per game. While Keenan liked what he saw from the Rush’s defense, he was far less complimentary about the offense.
"We wasted an outstanding goaltending performance and a pretty good defensive performance because our offense has just gone stagnant,” Keenan said. “…Nine goals in five quarters of lacrosse is not good enough and I'm tired of it."
Minnesota coach Mike Lines said he wanted his team to compete for 60 minutes. They did that and more on both ends of the floor, but he was very pleased with the team’s defensive effort.
“Our defense won the game. It’s what we’re striving for. Our defense did a great job ... We played smart D and we played 30-second D at a time and that’s what we have to do.” said Lines.
Minnesota trailed 9-8 when captain and All-Star Andrew Suitor fired a shot that snuck past Bold with 70 seconds to play in regulation.
Callum Crawford and Jordan MacIntosh, who will also represent Minnesota at this month’s All-Star game in Buffalo, scored one goal each. Crawford also had five assists and leads the team with 29 points.
The Swarm (2-2) will go for a weekend sweep Sunday afternoon when they play host to the Rochester Knighthawks. Minnesota fell 16-14 at Rochester on Feb. 4.
Edmonton’s loss puts them alone in fifth place in the West Division. They will play again next Saturday when they travel to face the Calgary Roughnecks.