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Crawford has eight points as Swarm defeat Rush

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The Canadian Press
2/22/2013 11:32:30 PM
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EDMONTON -- It wasn't complete revenge for the Minnesota Swarm, but it was a good start.

Callum Crawford led the way with two goals and six assists as the Minnesota Swarm moved out of last place in the National Lacrosse League's West Division with a 13-8 victory over the Edmonton Rush on Friday.

It was the first time the two teams have met since last season when the Rush humiliated the Swarm 15-3 in the divisional finals.

"That game last year was just an off night," Crawford said. "Those happen, it just happened at the worst possible time. We wanted to show that we could play with these guys. They are just as good if not better than they were last year. We were able to take it to them tonight and it felt pretty good."

Kiel Matisz and Jordan MacIntosh each scored three times and Shayne Jackson had a two-goal game for the Swarm (3-4), who have won two of their last three to move ahead of Colorado.

Ryan Benesch, Alex Crepinsek and Dan Ball also scored for Minnesota, which was able to hold the Rush to just two second half goals.

"That was a hot team we were facing that was coming off of two big wins," said Swarm head coach Joe Sullivan. "Any time that you can limit a team to as few goals as we did in the second half, you have to feel really good about it. Our defence and our penalty killing had been struggling, so our guys responded really well to some of the talks we had. It was nice to see."

Swarm goaltender Evan Kirk made a big difference in the game, stopping 43-of-51 shots.

"The defence really showed up and Evan Kirk really had a phenomenal game," Crawford said. "He showed how good he is and that he is one of the best goalies in the league."

Corey Small had three goals for the Rush (3-5), who had a two-game winning streak snapped. Edmonton's other goals came from Alex Turner, Jarrett Davis, Mark Matthews, Ryan Ward and Cory Conway.

"You've got to find a way to win these games," Small said. "We probably took them a little too light coming off of two big wins, which don't mean nothing if you can't keep it going and you lose a game like this. They just out-competed us in all areas. On offence, we had chances to get the ball and we didn't or we weren't making our shots, hitting him in the chest or in the stick. They just out-battled us."

Rush head coach Derek Keenan was ticked off with what he saw out of his team on the night.

"We just didn't earn it," he said. "These guys, they're on the verge of being a really good team and they just think it's easy. It's disappointing. We need every guy going on our team, we had very few tonight.

"If our guys aren't pissed off about that then we've got issues because we just didn't battle tonight. Just not enough, anyway. They were hooting and hollering on our floor and that's unacceptable."

The Swarm started the scoring a minute and a half into the contest as Crawford made a nifty behind-the-back pass to set up a goal by Matisz.

Edmonton bounced back with a pair of quick goals on Kirk.

The teams traded goals before Edmonton went up 4-2 after the first quarter on Small's second of the game.

Minnesota got one back to start the second before rookie sensation Matthews stole a ball deep in Swarm territory and restored the two-goal lead.

The teams traded goals again before the Swarm were able to tie it up 6-6 heading into the half on goals by MacIntosh and Matisz.

Minnesota took the lead five minutes into the third quarter as Crawford scored his second of the game on a nice diving goal.

The Rush tied it back up a minute later on Small's hat-trick goal.

The Swarm surged ahead 9-7 heading into the fourth quarter on goals just 16 seconds apart by Ball and Matisz.

Edmonton got a goal back but the Swarm regained their cushion five minutes in on a breakaway goal by Jackson.

Minnesota got a big insurance goal midway through the fourth from MacIntosh and put the game away for good in the final two minutes on Macintosh's hat-trick goal and another marker from Crepinsek.

Despite the result, Edmonton outshot the Swarm 51-37.

Notes: It was the first meeting of the season between the two teams who will play each other one more time in a rematch in Minnesota on Sunday... Edmonton and Minnesota were 4-4 against each other all time, with three of those games going into overtimea The Rush were coming off a pair of big wins in which first overall draft pick Mark Matthews combined for 11 goals. His offensive explosion was good enough to earn him NLL Offensive Player of the Week honours. Additionally, the Rush's Jeremy Thompson was named Transition Player of the Week after totalling 24 loose balls in two games and going 16-for-24 on face-offs against Colorado ... The Swarm had leading scorer Crawford back in the lineup after missing their last game with a hamstring injury... Minnesota has lost four of their games this season by a single goal ... Swarm transition player Andrew Suitor went down with a serious-looking leg injury in the second quarter and had to be carried off by teammates.

Minnesota Swarm (Photo: NLL)

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(Photo: NLL)
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