The Toronto Rock defeated the Minnesota Swarm, 13-12, at MTS Centre in downtown Winnipeg on Saturday evening. Rusty Kruger (3 goals, 2 assists), Aaron Wilson (3 goals, 1 assist) and Chris Driscoll (3 goals) all recorded hat-tricks for the Rock. Kasey Beirnes (2 goals, 2 assists) and Jamie Taylor (2 goals, 2 assists) led the Swarm offense.
Minnesota held an advantage early, keeping Rock goalie Bob Watson on his toe. However, despite taking an early penalty, the Rock battled back shorthanded with Sean Kimpinski netting the first goal of the game 3:18 into the first quarter.
Finding their powerplay groove, the Swarm closed the gap with Dean Hill putting one past Watson a short 42 seconds later. Quick goals proved to be the story of the first quarter, as Toronto’s 3-1 lead (on go-ahead goals by Aaron Wilson and Rusty Kruger) faded fast when two Swarm shots, six seconds apart, tied the game at three.
Carrying a 4-3 lead into the second, Toronto increased their lead with Wilson and Kruger both netting their second goals of the game on Swarm backstopper Matt Disher. Sean Pollock put the Swarm on the board in the second, potting his first of the game with 34 seconds left in the half.
Through the remaining 30 minutes, the Rock repeatedly charged ahead only to lose ground to speedy Swarm snipers on a comeback crusade. Twice in the third, back-to-back Swarm goals cut Toronto’s lead and kept Minnesota in the match.
Riding final frame goals by Pollock, Jamie Taylor, and Kasey Beirnes, the Swarm pressed to gain the lead but couldn’t stop the Rock. Toronto’s Wilson, Kruger, and Chris Driscoll all posted hat tricks, propelling the Rock to a close 13-12 victory over the Minnesota Swarm.