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Minnesota Swarm Best Defending Champions In Home Opener

January 16, 2010 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Minnesota Swarm News Release

SAINT PAUL, MN - The National Lacrosse League's (NLL) Minnesota Swarm (1-1) took down the defending league champion Calgary Roughnecks (1-1), 12-10, in front of 11,758 fans at Xcel Energy Center Friday night. The win snaps a four-game losing streak against Calgary and puts the Swarm in a tie for second place in the West Division.

Rookie F Zack Greer made an immediate impact, scoring his first goal at Xcel Energy Center and totaling five points (1g, 4a). F Sean Pollock, the Swarm's leading scorer last season, added three points (1g, 2a). F Aaron Wilson continued his scoring streak, notching four points (2g, 2a) and newly-acquired F Callum Crawford totaled four points (1g, 3a).

"I'm very pleased to see our squad bounce back in our home opener after a tough loss in Calgary on Sunday," first-year Head Coach Mike Lines said. "To beat the defending NLL champs is a testament to how hard our team played tonight."

Calgary opened the scoring, but Minnesota answered back with five unanswered goals, giving them their biggest lead of the season. Defenseman and offseason acquisition Jay Thorimbert (1g) scored the Swarm's first goal of the year at home to tie it at 1-1.

After that, it was back and forth action early on. Minnesota's goaltender Nick Patterson came up with some huge saves to keep the Swarm ahead. Head Coach Mike Lines felt good about Patterson's performance last Sunday against Calgary and decided to give him the nod again Friday night. He didn't disappoint, making 41 saves.

F Jon Sullivan (1g) scored a shorthanded goal, his first tally of the year, during a 3-on-1 rush after the Swarm created a big turnover. Pollock notched his first goal of the year off a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play during a two-man advantage to make it 3-1. F Wilson ripped one past the Roughnecks goalie in the second quarter and then D Eric Pacey (1g) scored his first of the year to make it 5-1, their largest lead of the night, before Calgary showed why they are the defending NLL champions.

Calgary stormed back late in the second quarter with three unanswered goals. F Josh Sanderson (2g, 6a) killed the Swarm last Sunday with 10 points (4g, 6a), and had a hand in all three of those goals, including an assist on F Tracey Kelusky's (3g, 4a) brilliant behind-the-back shot. F Craig Conn (2g, 4a) and Sanderson added goals with one minute left in the half to pull the Roughnecks within one, 6-5 at halftime.

Minnesota stopped the bleeding in the second half and started a rally of its own, scoring three unanswered goals. Wilson added his second goal of the night, Greer followed it up with his first-career goal at Xcel Energy Center to give the team a three-goal cushion and finally D Andrew Watt (1g) scored a breakaway goal with 20 seconds left in the third quarter to give the Swarm a comfortable 9-5 lead heading into the final frame.

Calgary responded with two power-play goals to pull within two before D Kevin Ross (1g, 2a) scored a goal in mid-air to put the Swarm back up 10-7. F Tim Campeau (2g, 2a) and Crawford added goals late in the fourth before Calgary started another rally, but the deficit proved too much.

The Swarm will host the Colorado Mammoth next Friday, January 22 at 7:35 p.m. CST at Xcel Energy Center. Lower level single game tickets can be purchased for as low as $24 for each of the eight 2010 home games. Tickets are available online at or by calling 888-MN-SWARM.

Fans in attendance at Friday's game will receive Swarm Headbands to help celebrate the Salute to American Indian Heritage night at Xcel Energy Center, which will also include traditional songs, dances and a halftime game between the Oneida and Menominee tribes. Fans can also take advantage of the Winter Carnival Button deal and hit up the post-game party at Eagle Street Grille for $1 off Coors Light Bottles.

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