Wings, Swarm split weekend series as Philly spoils Minnesota’s home opener

Evan Kirk made 35 saves to lead Philadelphia past Minnesota on Sunday afternoon. (Photo: Scott Pierson)
Evan Kirk made 35 saves to lead Philadelphia past Minnesota on Sunday afternoon. (Photo: Scott Pierson)

The Minnesota Swarm got their first National Lacrosse League win of the season on Saturday in Philadelphia. They’ll have to wait a little longer for their first home win. The Philadelphia Wings made sure of that, bolting to an early lead on Sunday and making it stand in a 15-8 win over the Swarm at Excel Energy Center to split the weekend home-and-home series. The Wings had leads of 4-1 and 8-4 and the Swarm never got closer than 3 goals the rest of the way. “That was not Minnesota Swarm lacrosse,” Minnesota’s Callum Crawford told NLL.com. “If you look at the way we’ve played over the past few years in this building we were a force to be reckoned with, and today we were taken advantage of.”

The Swarm won on Saturday, 11-10, feeling they’d cleared a major hurdle in finally notching their first win after a 0-2 start. But wasn’t just the losing that raised eyebrows, it was the combined 11 goals in those first 2 games that pointed to a struggling offense. So scoring 11 on Saturday brought a sigh of relief to Minnesota, only to see the Swarm come out on Sunday and score just 8.

Not helping was a 5-minute major to Tyler Hass in the second quarter for a cross check, and the Wings cashed in with a pair of goals from Pat Saunders and Jordan Hall, followed another power play goal 3 minutes later from Tracey Kelusky to turn a 5-3 lead into an 8-3 cushion.

“Any time you get a five-minute penalty against you, you are hoping to hold them to one, and we didn’t do that,” Swarm assistant coach Bobby Keast told NLL.com.

The Wings scored 5 power-play goals in the game and Evan Kirk made 35 saves on 43 shots to get the win against the team that traded him in the offseason.

“It was nice to rebound today after a tough loss the night before,” Wings coach Blane Harrison told the team’s website. “A lot of guys stepped up and played like we knew they could. The team put together a whole game.”

Both teams are off this weekend before returning to the floor on Feb. 1; the Wings hosting Vancouver and Minnesota playing at Colorado.

Philadelphia 15, Minnesota 8
Box score

Chavez is an avid lacrosse player in Rochester and a journalist for the Democrat and Chronicle as well as a longtime Inside Lacrosse contributor. Email him at bob.chavez@nllinsider.com or go to RochesterSports.com.

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