The New England Black Wolves gained a measure of revenge while bringing a five-game losing streak to an end Saturday night at Minnesota, pulling out a 10-9 win at the Xcel Energy Center on a goal from Kevin Crowley with just 1:09 remaining in a tied game.
It was the Swarm who started that skid with a 19-13 victory over the Black Wolves at Mohegan Sun Arena back on January 24th. Now, Minnesota (3-6) is in the midst of a four-game losing streak.
New England (3-5) seemed on its way to an easy win after rallying from 6-3 deficit with a string of six unanswered goals, including five in a span of five minutes, two seconds bridging the last 1:51 of the third quarter and the first 3:11 of the fourth quarter.
Jamie Lincoln scored his two goals in the first 2:22 of the fourth quarter. Lincoln nearly had his second hat trick of the season, both have come against the Swarm, but a third-period goal was negated by a crease violation.
When Mike Manley beat Minnesota goalie Zach Higgins with 11:49 remaining, the Black Wolves led 8-6. And when rookie Mark Cockerton scored his second goal of the game with 5:53 remaining, New England seemed to be cruising.
That’s when Minnesota rallied for three goals over a span of one minute, 24 seconds with Dean Hill’s goal tying the game 9-9 with 2:39 left.
Just when it looked like the Black Wolves might be heading to another tough defeat – New England’s last two losses were 13-12 in overtime at Toronto on February 20th and 14-12 to Colorado on February 22nd – Crowley found an opening just above Higgins’ left shoulder and beat him with for the eventual game-winner.
New England goalie Evan Kirk made at least three tough saves in the final 18 seconds to secure the victory. He saved 33 of 42 Minnesota shots.
Cockerton led the team with five points, collecting three assists to go with his two goals. Joel White also had two goals.
New England got off to a fast start, scoring two goals in the first 1:50 of the game. Pat Saunders collected his 14th goal of the season just 21 seconds in, and rookie Mark Cockerton followed with a goal at the 1:50 mark.
The Black Wolves had given up the first goal in each of their five straight losses, after scoring first while winning their first two games.