Rush, Rock, K-Hawks, 'Necks Win on Saturday

While Minnesota was able to stay in contention thanks to a pair of three-goal runs that brought them within two of the Knighthawks at halftime and within three for much of the fourth quarter, they still came out short despite owning a 51-39 lead in shots-on-goal. Crawford's hat trick and F Logan Schuss' four-point night (2g, 2a) led the Swarm attack while F Shayne Jackson (1g, 2a) and T Jordan MacIntosh (3a) also contributed.

"I don't know if they did a whole lot different [defensively], or if it was just not getting the looks we got last night," Swarm coach Joe Sullivan said. "I'm still pretty proud of the guys for putting up the numbers we did across two games against this team."

Minnesota pushed back in the second quarter, which they were able to outscore the Knighthawks 4-2. Swarm T David Earl scored his second goal of the year at 1:35, but Rochester responded by adding goals from Powless and Vitarelli to extend their lead to 7-2. However the rest of the half was all Minnesota as a Crawford power play marker and a pair of goals by T Tyler Hass reduced the Knighthawk lead to 7-5 heading into the break.

Any momentum the Swarm built leading up to halftime was quickly squashed as play resumed in the third quarter, as Rochester kick-started a 4-0 run of their own just 23 seconds in when Pat McCready intercepted an errant pass in the Swarm end and beat Carlson from point-blank range. After the Knighthawks extended their lead to a game high six goals with Vitarelli's fourth of the night at 8:19, Schuss scored consecutive goals, the first on the power play, to cut the lead to 11-7 heading into the final quarter.

The Swarm had a chance to pull a similar comeback that Rochester did the night before, as they trailed by three with four minutes to go in regulation, but a key penalty kill by the Knighthawks and a few solid saves by G Angus Goodleaf prevented any late Minnesota rally. Goodleaf, making his first start since 2011 and his first in a Rochester uniform made 42 saves in picking up the victory.

Minnesota returns to Saint Paul to end the 2014 with a trio of games at The Hive. While their playoff hopes were still alive at the conclusion of Saturday's game, Crawford wants his team to finish strong regardless on whether or not there is a postseason for the Swarm.

"We need to win and get some momentum–for chemistry, for next year, maybe for our own pride," Crawford said. "I would love to finish on a high note and get three wins, at the very least for our fans."

* * * *

DENVER – After leading 4-3 at the end of the first quarter at Rexall Place, the Colorado Mammoth fell victim to an 8-1 Edmonton Rush run that was capped off by four goals in 1:46 by the home team early in the third quarter. But Colorado chipped away, cutting Edmonton's lead to one twice in the final frame. The Mammoth had possession in the waning seconds but was unable to send the game to overtime as the Rush won, 12-11, to remain undefeated.

"Getting experience in those close games, especially against a team like Edmonton, is going to be huge in the long-run. We're one or two bounces away from winning that game," said forward Adam Jones, who led the Mammoth with five points (1g, 4a).

Special teams – and defense – got Colorado back in the contest. Three straight power-play goals in the third quarter cut Edmonton's lead in half. But the Mammoth defense was the story, holding the Rush scoreless for more than 24 minutes from early in the third to late in the fourth.

"Even though we lost, I think that's the best 'D' we've played all year," said coach Pat Coyle. "The grittiest we've played ... You could actually see that we were making it hard on Edmonton to play against us. It feels like we're getting closer to where we want to be."

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2014-04-06



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