NLL: Minnesota's Postseason Woes Continue
from press release
SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The National Lacrosse
League’s (NLL) Minnesota Swarm (5-12) fell at the hands of
Western Division champion Washington Stealth (12-5) in the first
round of playoff action by a score of 14-10 in front of 3,268 fans
at Comcast Arena at Everett.
During the regular season, Washington held an 8-0 record when leading after the first quarter. Minnesota challenged that statistic Saturday night in the face of playoff elimination and a six-goal deficit. Washington built a steep hill to climb before the Swarm started clicking but it was too little too late.
F Aaron Wilson tallied three goals and F Ryan Benesch finished with a team-leading four points (1g, 3a).
Benesch and F Sean Pollock (2g, 0a) got the second-quarter rally going before F Aaron Wilson put it into high gear. The Swarm’s captain and franchise record holder for goals in a single season displayed how dangerous Minnesota’s scoring can be. Wilson completed a natural hat trick in a one-minute span, helping the Swarm control play at the half.
Washington’s F Rhys Duch stole the show, tallying four goals and two assists in the first quarter alone and finishing with 11 total points (6g, 5a) as Washington advanced to the second round. F Cam Sedgwick (2g, 4a) supplemented the offense with six points. F Jeff Zywicki scored five goals (5g, 0a), including two of them late in the fourth quarter, giving the Stealth a comfortable cushion.
The Swarm would not go quietly, but the early deficit proved too heavy for Minnesota, who is still seeking its first playoff win in franchise history.
Washington capitalized on the game’s first penalty Saturday night, beginning a three-goal rally and giving Minnesota an unfriendly welcome in the NLL’s first round of playoff action.
F Andrew Watt (1g, 0a) got the Swarm on the scoreboard late in the first quarter, powering his way to the net for an early goal.
Minnesota’s all-time leading goal scorer, F Sean Pollock (2g, 0a), began a desperate second quarter for the Swarm with a much-needed goal. Benesch helped close the deficit with a power-play goal in the second quarter as the Swarm clawed their way back into contention.
The Western Division rivals entered the second half with Washington leading 8-6 and Minnesota controlling the game. Duch continued his dominance, giving the Stealth a power-play goal, his fifth on the night. Pollock answered the call, diving in midair to bring the Swarm back within one before the Duch show continued. His 11 points lead the NLL playoffs points race after one round of action.
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