Minnesota is coming off a disappointing 14-12 lose against the Colorado Mammoth in Denver. Playing four of their first five games on the road has been difficult for the young Swarm, with most games being decided by two goals or less. Five rookies and five more second-year players currently are on the active roster, with Callum Crawford (team-leading 19 points), Mike Hobbins, Jeff Gilbert and Greg Downing the only Swarm players with more than three years of NLL experience. Scoring has been the primary cause for the poor record as Minnesota is last in the National Lacrosse League | NLL with just 42 goals (8.4 GPG).
Rookie goaltender Zach Higgins has been a pleasant surprise so far for the Swarm. The 23-year old Higgins has relieved Tyler Carlson twice in games and made his first career start last week in Denver. A solid .766 save%, Higgins earned the lone victory coming in relief just 3:03 into the January 18 game in Philadelphia.
Higgins has spent time on the Swarm practice squad the past two years. A four-year starter at Davenport University (2009-12), Higgins compiled a 30-8 record. He played his junior lacrosse with the Whitby Warriors, leading his team to the 2011 Minto Cup championship. That year Higgins was also named Playoff Performer of the Year by Inside Lacrosse.
Offense has also been a concern for the Roughnecks, scoring just 60 goals in their five games. Shawn Evens leads Calgary scorers with six goals and 22 assists. Jeff Shattler (12 G, 14 A) and Dane Dobbie (16 G, 9 A) have provided nearly half of the team goals scored so far.
Calgary have won every other game so far this season and will be looking to earn their third victory in St. Paul. Coming off a bye week could be a key factor for the Roughnecks.