GAME PREVIEW: Rock @ Swarm
Toronto Rock @ Minnesota Swarm
April 26th, 2014 8:00 PM ET
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN
The Rock will play Minnesota for the third time this season. The two teams met at the Air Canada Centre on February 22nd and the Rock won 14-12. The second meeting, in Minnesota, was a thrilling 9-8 victory for the Rock, as captain Colin Doyle scored the OT winner.
The Rock enter this game riding a 3-game winning streak, their longest of the season. Their last game was a 13-9 home victory over the Buffalo Bandits. Rob Hellyer led the Rock with 7 points. The win moved Toronto into a tie with Buffalo for second place in the NLL’s East Division heading into the final week of the regular season. It sets up a very interesting scenario, as the Rock head into Minnesota. A win for Toronto combined with a Buffalo loss gives the Rock home turf in the first round of the playoffs. The Bandits are home to the East leading Rochester Knighthawks and are currently riding a 7-game losing streak. A Buffalo win clinches home field for them and would mean the Rock would start the playoffs on the road at First Niagara Center in Buffalo.
The Rock are without leading scorer Garrett Billings who suffered a season ending ACL tear in Vancouver on April 5th. Billings is still the league leader in points at 101 heading into the final week.
It’s been a disappointing season for the Swarm who are 4-13. Minnesota dropped their last game 18-12 to the Colorado Mammoth. 3 of their 4 wins have come at home, at Xcel Energy Center.
Callum Crawford (26G-52A-78PTS) and Jordan MacIntosh (23G-37A-60PTS) are leading the way offensively. Perhaps the biggest positive for the Swarm this year is 2013 first overall pick Logan Schuss, who has had a marvelous rookie campaign with 34 goals and 34 assists for 68 points on the season.
Veteran Jeff Gilbert remains an anchor on the back end for the Swarm while youngsters Jason Noble and Cameron Flint continue to improve game by game. Captain Andrew Suitor is a key transition player for the Swarm.
Between The Pipes:
Tyler Carlson was named the starter out of training camp, but has split time with Zach Higgins as the team has struggled. Carlson has a GAA of 11.32 while Higgins sits at 13.30 through 17 games this season.
You can watch the game live at www.YouTube.com/TLN