In a game filled with highlight-reel goals, the Minnesota Swarm (5-7) dominated the second half and set numerous franchise records with a 20-11 win over the visiting Philadelphia Wings (5-6) at Xcel Energy Center on Friday night.
The 20 goals by the Swarm marked an all-time record for most goals scored in a single game by the team.
“The whole team was firing,” said Minnesota forward Callum Crawford, who scored four goals. “Our transition kicked in and gave us a kick in the butt for the offense to start contributing. We put a whole team effort together and filled the back of the net. It was great.”
The win followed up Minnesota’s 12-5 win over the Washington Stealth two weekend ago on March 16. The back-to-back performances answered some of the team’s season-long questions of consistency.
“We called ourselves out early in the year about being not consistent,” said Swarm head coach Joe Sullivan. “Our defense dictated the flow of the game and our offense finished their chances. That’s two good games in a row.”
Minnesota’s offense came from multiple sources in the win. Swarm transition player Jordan MacIntosh matched Crawford’s four-goal performance.
“We scouted them really well,” MacIntosh said. “Our transition was awesome. We got a lot of key loose balls and I thought we just wore them down and buried the ball.”
Philadelphia’s loss spoiled the Minnesota homecoming for forward Kevin Ross, who played the last four seasons with the Swarm before being traded to the Wings last summer. He provided a spark to the Wings’ offense, finishing with seven points (1+6) in a losing effort.
“It was definitely a game I was looking forward to,” Ross said. “I thought it was a great game for about 35-40 minutes. We let it slip away.”
Philadelphia finished the first half on a 4-1 run to go into the locker room with the score tied 5-5. Minnesota outscored the Wings 15-6 over the last two quarters, including a franchise-record nine fourth-quarter tallies. The 15 second-half goals were also a franchise record for the Swarm.
“We came in at halftime and coach [Sullivan] kind of put us in our place,” MacIntosh said. “I thought we answered well.”
Evan Kirk was solid in net for the Swarm as he collected 43 saves on 54 shot attempts.
“[Kirk’s] a competitor,” Ross said. “He had a heck of a game. We definitely didn’t have any easy goals. Every goal we had we had to work for.”
Despite the loss, the Wings outshot Minnesota, were more efficient on the power play and collected more loose balls.
According to Wings general manager and head coach Johnny Mouradian, the Swarm’s edge came in the effort department.
“They outworked us in the second half when we should have to outwork them to be successful,” Mouradian said. “We just had mental errors of omission. We lost where the ball was, we lost where the player was, next thing you know, the ball was in our net.”
Kevin Crowley had five points (3+2), Drew Westervelt had four points (3+1), and Jeff Reynolds had a game-high 16 loose balls for Philadelphia in the losing effort.
Wings rookie goalie Angus Dineley, made his first career NLL start in place of starter Brandon Miller, serving his one-game suspension for being the third-man-in on a fight two weeks ago, had 31 stops on 51 shots as Philadelphia had recently-signed Alex Fortier serve as the backup goalie.