The Minnesota Swarm hosted the New England Black Wolves on March 14, 2015. The scene outside the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul was festive as the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade and festival was in full force.
Inside The Hive (the Xcel Energy Centre’s Swarm configuration) fans meandered to their seats to in anticipation of the matchup between the East Division rivals for the worst record in the division. In fact, this year there are only two teams above .500 as of the start of the game. With wins in each of the Swarm’s two games this weekend the struggling 3-5 Swarm could climb out of the hole. The attendance was 8,912.
Upon the opening faceoff, New England’s Bill O’Brien punched Minnesota Swarm captain Andrew Suitor and cross checked him before making a bee-line to put an ugly hit on Jordan MacIntosh of the Swarm. Suitor, picked himself off the turf and sprinted over to challenge the rampaging defense-man, a fight ensued. Suitor wound up on the ground but not before landing multiple hay-makers on O’Brien.
The Black Wolves jumped out to a quick two point lead but Minnesota scored four of the next five goals and led at the half 5-3. Minnesota scored the first goal of the second half but went on to give up six consecutive goals and, with five minutes left in the game, trailed 9-6.
Corbyn Tao, Miles Thompson and Dean Hill (his third of the game) electrified a crowd of 8,900 that had been lulled to sleep over the course of 25 minutes of lackluster play and, with 2:39 left in the game, the score was tied up at 9 goals. 90 seconds later Kevin Crowley scored the game winner at 13:51 of the fourth quarter. The Swarm put on a good show for the remaining seconds but were not able to score despite pulling their goaltender.
The Swarm fall to 3-6 and the Black Wolves improve to 3-5. With half the season in the rear view mirror, the Swarm has nine games to right the ship and salvage the season.
The Swarm plays next at home on April 4, against the Black Wolves. Stay tuned to The Minnesota Sports Report for news and photos from the game.