In a game where neither team led by more than two, Swarm transition man Tyler Hass allowed the home crowd to exhale, scoring on a transition play in overtime to give Minnesota a 13-12 win over Toronto.
"As soon as I was running, I was hoping that (defender) was real close to me, because I knew (Nick) Rose would be more likely to bite with a defender right on my back. When he was close, I thought 'chuck one, hope he'll move,' and he did," Hass said.
Coincidentally, the goal gave Hass a hat trick, the only player to do so for Minnesota (2-3). Stephen LeBlanc led Toronto (5-2) in total points with seven, netting one goal and six assists. Their leading scorer was Kasey Biernes, who finished with a hat trick.
The Swarm were close to danger at the end of regulation. Holding a 12-10 lead with less than two minutes to play, Toronto's Colin Doyle scored, followed by a successful penalty shot from Biernes to even the score.
"Penalty shots, you live or die by them. Tonight, we were fortunate enough to live," said Swarm assistant coach Bobby Keast, filling in for Joe Sullivan.
Minnesota thought victory was theirs in the opening minutes of overtime, when Joel Henry appeared to scoop a missed shot and rolled the rebound by Rose to hit net. The goal was disallowed after an official's review, ruling that Henry's foot touched the crease line when he picked up the ball, an automatic crease violation.
"We got to have poise whether we're up by five or down by five," Keast said.
There was no close call with Hass' game-winner, coming at the 10:30 mark in overtime, capping off a dramatic period the began with a penalty on Suitor before the opening face-off, followed by a delay of game call against Toronto in just five seconds of play.
"I thought we got a break with their captain getting the penalty, and then we have a brain cramp. We know you're supposed to drop the ball, not roll it," said Toronto head coach Troy Cordingley. "A lot of mistakes, and eventually they capitalized on one that we made."
The night belonged to the goalies, who stopped virtually every direct shot. Tyler Carlson had 35 saves out of 47 shots on goal for the Swarm. Nick Rose stopped 41 of 54 shots for the Rock.
Fancy maneuvering was required to find the net, with both teams getting the majority of scoring chances in transition. Even more impressive for Minnesota was recording a win against the NLL's top team without much help from their primary scorers. Of that group, only Andrew Suitor scored, nailing a transition play to start the fourth quarter.
"Now if teams focus on those three, they know we've got five guys out on the front door that can do damage," Hass said.
Minnesota returns to action Feb. 16, when they host Calgary.