Rock, Swarm, Rush Prevail in Playoff Action

"This season was a success for us. We had a great regular season and we were right where we needed to be," Prout said. "Unfortunately in these playoffs, if you don't play your 'A' game, you're out. It's not a series or anything, and we definitely weren't at our best."

Two shorthanded goals by the Swarm, one in the second quarter by Andrew Watt and one in the third by Tyler Hass, short-circuited any chance for Colorado to seize the momentum. The Mammoth exhibited only glimpses of the form that led to an 11-5 regular-season mark that was second-best in the NLL.

Colorado had beaten Minnesota twice in three tries in the regular season, although the loss was fresh on the teams' minds. It came in the regular-season finale, when the Swarm triumphed 16-13 in Minnesota.

Ryan Benesch tallied a team-best seven points (3g, 4a) for Minnesota while rookie goaltender Evan Kirk stopped 35 of 45 shots.

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DENVER, Co. The National Lacrosse League's (NLL) Minnesota Swarm defeated the Colorado Mammoth in front of a sold out crowd at Pepsi Center Saturday night. The third seeded Swarm beat the second seeded Mammoth 14-10 with a supreme showing by goalie Evan Kirk. The action packed game was broadcasted by CBS Sports Network and ensured Minnesota's spot in the NLL West Division Final against the Edmonton Rush. The game will take place next week at the Hive.

The Swarm, who have a roster filled with many game-impacting rookies, never gave up the lead during the entire game.

"I'm ecstatic. I'm so happy for the players because they bought into a system, they stuck to that system and when there were lots of chances to stray from it, they didn't," said coach Joe Sullivan on Saturday's road win. " They were rewarded tonight."

Rookie goalie Evan Kirk (5-4) was a paramount player in the Swarm's 14-10 victory, earning him CBS Sports Network's player of the game. Kirk saved 35 of 45 shots on goal in the first playoff appearance of his career.

"He gave us a chance to quiet the crowd early in the game and then he made some saves that were outstanding" Sullivan said. "He had no right making those saves and he made them time and time again against one of the best offenses in the league. We gave him the game ball tonight and deservingly so."

Another massive part of a great team effort came from forward Ryan Benesch, who was the night's top scorer with an impressive seven points, including a hat trick. Other notable performances include forward Kevin Ross, who notched two goals tonight and has been very consistent, scoring in every game this season.

The Swarm are 9-0 this year when leading after the 3rd quarter, and held that record intact with a solid fourth quarter. Jordan Macintosh scored a clutch goal in the fourth quarter to bring the score to 11-9, which ended a scoreless streak that began with 2:32 remaining in the third quarter. Macintosh also contributed by winning 13 of his 23 face offs

Callum Crawford (1g, 4a) lead the team in assists and sealed the game with his goal in the 4th quarter, bringing the score to 13-9. The last goal scored by the Swarm was an open netter by transition player Andrew Watt.

"It's a lot to do with the movement we made along with all of these young guys. When you have young guys and you show them the way and they gain and trust everything, they understand there are going to be ups and downs. My job is to weather and storm with them," said coach Sullivan.

The Swarm was dominant in the first quarter with forward Corbyn Tao scoring on the Swarm's second possession. The Swarm scored four more decisive goals, including transition player Rich Morgan's second of the year. Colorado tried to fight back but was only able to score twice, leaving the score 5-2 after the first.

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2012-05-06



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