The Minnesota Swarm are going into this weekend as the worst team in the East and the worst team in the NLL at 1-6. The Swarm have dropped four straight, three of which were at home in St. Paul Minnesota. The Last time the Swarm won a game was in Philadelphia on January 18th in an 11-10 win over the Wings, this also was the first game of a double-header weekend against the Wings. Like that weekend in January the Swarm have a double-header weekend in front of them this weekend, the first game in Toronto against the Rock and the second coming on Sunday against the Wings on Sunday afternoon.
The Swarm have had trouble finding a way to win through the two months of the season, only having a goals for average of 9.1 goals a game, this below the league average of 12 goals per game. Minnesota has also been lacking on the defensive end in the last few weeks, allowing 14.5 goals a game since the win against Philadelphia. Whereas they had held teams to 8.7 goals against in the first three games of the season, during that holding the defending Champion Knighthawks to 8 goals. With both sides of the ball struggling the Swarm are looking like a team in trouble.
The Swarm will need to have team leaders Callum Crawford, who leads in points and assists and goals on the team, to really take charge of the offensive side and get players like Kiel Matisz, Logan Schuss and Shayne Jackson more involved in the offense. Schuss who was the number one overall pick in last year’s draft, unfortunately Schuss has only 18 points on the year.
On the defensive end the Swarm need someone to step up on the floor and be the leader. this will need to come from veterans like Jeff Gilbert, Mike Hobbins and Greg Downing. They will also need either Tyler Carlson or Zach Higgins to really take charge of the net. When Carlson was on he looked to be the solid lock for the starting position but since first few weeks he has looked shaky, although young Higgins has shown glimpses of greatness. With the season where it is and where the Swarm sit in the standings it may be worth a look at trading some of the backlogged draft picks to find a true number one starter.
The last time these two teams met the Swarm came out on top in a win that propelled the team to the Conference Finals. This game will need to have the same amount of intensity that it had in the playoffs. With that the Swarm have a tough road ahead on Saturday night, they will be taking on Garret Billings and a strong Toronto team that sits third in the East at 2.5 games back of the Buffalo Bandits and only a half game back of the Rochester Knighthawks. Game time is 7pm EST at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.