Minnesota Swarm: Young and loaded for 2013

  • Article by: BOB TIMMONS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 11, 2013 - 9:50 AM

 The Swarm, the league's youngest team, is stockpiled with first-round picks.

hide

Swarm season ticket holder Jeremy Orpen (aka - Moe) celebrated a Swarm goal. The 2013 season opens Saturday.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Another star-laden team planning to lean heavily on a bumper crop of young talent begins its season this month, too, at the Xcel Energy Center. This group is even coming off a mini-run in the playoffs.

The Minnesota Swarm -- the professional lacrosse team that shares a home rink with its sports brethren Wild -- opens its 2013 campaign on Saturday at Buffalo, N.Y., still channeling the youthful enthusiasm of last year. The 2012 squad finished the regular season with four consecutive victories to advance to the playoffs and later a National Lacrosse League division final for the first time.

So what might the new year bring? Some new players, of course, and a head coach looking to build on the turnaround he shepherded after taking over six games into last season. Here are five story lines:

1 YOUTH PREVAILS

The Swarm was the youngest team in the league last season with 12 rookies; its average age was 25.2 years. The turn-back-the-clock mentality continues. The team had three of the first four picks in the league draft last October. Ohio State's Brock Sorenson, 23, was the jewel, drafted No. 2 overall to fill a transition player role with his athleticism and 6-6 wingspan. The next three first-rounders are expected to contribute straight-away too. Transition player Kiel Matisz (6-5, 215 pounds), forward Shayne Jackson (5-9, 180) and defenseman Alex Crepinsek (5-11, 185) contribute the size, scoring and grit that makes teams go in the 16-game season.

2 The glue

Improbably successful, the Swarm could easily cover a wall with the hardware it won last year. Owner John Arlotta (general manager of the year), co-owner Andy Arlotta (executive) and Joe Sullivan (coach) swept the top awards. Even play-by-play announcer Jake Elliott was honored for his work. Sullivan credited a philosophy of togetherness for the success. "As owners and coaches, (2012) was about bonding, not X's and O's," he said.

3 Captain, my captain

Transition player Andrew Suitor is back as team captain with guts and savvy that belie his age (23). Suitor is in his third NLL season, coming off career highs in scoring (26 points) and groundballs (120) in a game that is all about possession. Unfortunately, that grit sometimes comes with a price: Suitor will miss the first two games this season after a second game misconduct to end 2012. Regardless, he is excited for the season to start. The 2012 West all-star said practices have a different vibe this season. "There's more spunk. We got younger, and with young guys comes new energy," he said.

4 Scorers and stoppers

Callum Crawford and Ryan Benesch begin their fourth year with the Swarm with a pedigree of all-star play (two consecutive years) and the reliable offense that propels good teams to great ones. Crawford led the team in scoring last season with 83 points (58 assists); he set the team scoring record in 2010 with 96 (32 goals, 64 assists). Benesch is no slouch either. He won the NLL scoring title in 2011 (46-49--95). Meanwhile, netminding will be a two-man act with Evan Kirk and Tyler Carlson. A rookie last season, Kirk led the league in save percentage (.807) and goals-against average (9.81).

5 Team first

Swarm brass was determined to set a foundation for its young flock last season when half the roster was rookies. In fact, many of the players were encouraged to live in St. Paul to bring continuity to their conditioning, practice and community outreach for the team. The payoff came on the field. The blueprint is the same in 2013, Sullivan said, adding, "Last year was a big trailblazing year for us. Do we get more seasoned players or give opportunity to up-and-comers?" The answer became clear. "Throw them in the fire, let them live and learn," Sullivan said. Now the fire under the Swarm burns hotter than ever.

SWARM

Season opener: 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Buffalo

Home opener: 7 p.m. Jan. 26 vs. Washington,

Xcel Energy Center

Tickets: Information at www.mnswarm.com.

  • related content

  • KNOW THIS

    Thursday January 10, 2013

    Winning at Indiana is a

  • KICK AND RUN

    Thursday January 10, 2013

    KICK AND RUN As noted on Twitter by @SI_PeterKing, Ryan Longwell was planning on running his first marathon Sunday before being signed by Seattle.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 80 4th Qtr
LA Clippers 78
Boston 6:00 PM
Washington
Orlando 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Memphis 6:30 PM
Miami
Indiana 7:00 PM
Brooklyn
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Chicago
Atlanta 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
Utah
New York 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Minnesota 9:30 PM
Golden State
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Detroit 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Carolina 6:00 PM
Tampa Bay
New Jersey 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Boston 6:00 PM
Columbus
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
Minnesota
Washington 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Dallas 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Philadelphia 7:00 PM
Nashville
Anaheim 7:00 PM
Arizona
Chicago 8:00 PM
Colorado
Edmonton 9:00 PM
Calgary
San Jose 9:00 PM
Los Angeles
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
UAB 30 2nd Half 16:13
North Carolina 52
IUPUI 36 2nd Half 14:15
Pepperdine 35
Santa Clara 43 2nd Half 10:23
St Marys-CA 53
Oakland 8 1st Half 11:51
Maryland 19
Gonzaga 5:00 PM
BYU
Mercer 5:00 PM
Georgia
San Francisco 5:00 PM
Pacific
Wright State 6:00 PM
Ohio State
Presbyterian 6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Brescia 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Tennessee St 7:30 PM
Tennessee
Kennesaw St 8:00 PM
Illinois
Colorado State 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
Portland 8:00 PM
San Diego
Wayland Baptist 8:05 PM
Utah State
Bristol University 8:05 PM
Weber State
Sacramento St 8:05 PM
Utah Valley U
Southern Utah 9:00 PM
UNLV
SD Christian 9:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 30 4th Qtr 6:09
Duke 24
Miami-Florida 6 3rd Qtr
So Carolina 17
Boston College 7 1st Qtr 0:55
Penn State 7
(25) Nebraska 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
UCF 64 FINAL
Houston 50
BYU 13 1st Half 12:08
Gonzaga 18
Pacific 20 1st Half 11:02
San Francisco 7
St Marys-CA 12 1st Half 11:53
Santa Clara 8
San Diego 7:00 PM
Portland

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite Gophers head coach?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close