It’s not easy to miss the playoffs in a nine-team league in which eight teams make the postseason, but that is the path the Minnesota Swarm was on through 10 games this year. The Swarm was 3-7 and spinning its wheels after three consecutive losses without captain Andrew Suitor, who tore one of his ACLs midyear.

But that’s around the same time that Callum Crawford caught fire. He took over as interim captain and let his play lead the way down the stretch. He has at least eight points in each of his past six games and has helped the Swarm rally to win four of its past five games heading into Saturday’s home finale against Colorado at Xcel Energy Center.

“I think we’re just meshing and carrying out the game plan set for us,” Crawford said, explaining the recent surge. “We’re maturing a little bit and we’re able to put teams away.”

As a result, the Swarm enters Saturday with a playoff berth already clinched. A victory would square the team’s record at 8-8 and help sustain momentum going into the playoffs the following weekend. It would also give a boost to drawing what the organization hopes is a large home crowd. The Swarm topped 10,000 fans at a recent game and had 11,000 at last year’s season-finale. This year’s goal is 12,000 for Saturday's finale.

Crawford is doing his part in that regard, too, by purchasing and donating 30 tickets to Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“I’m getting older, and I want to give back to Minnesota,” said Crawford, who at 28 is among the oldest players on the roster. “This was just a great idea that came up. We were brainstorming, and I always wanted to be involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters.”

He could give them a thrill and set a record in the process. He has 89 points this season; with eight more, he will break his own team record of 96 set in 2010.

“It’s a testament to the players I play with. I get a lot of assists,” said Crawford, who has 30 goals and 59 assists. “I’m comfortable throwing passes that not every coach is comfortable with. Guys can make a play on the ball, catch it and do something with it.”

Michael Rand