The Colorado Mammoth captured its third-consecutive victory in epic comeback fashion during a Sunday Funday matchup with a 10-8 win over the Rochester Knighthawks March 8.
“I’m very disappointed in the way that we started, but very proud of our guys for the way we responded and picked up a huge win tonight,” Mammoth Head Coach Pat Coyle shared in a postgame conversation.
During the team’s first possession, Rochester’s Paul Dawson carried the ball into Colorado’s offensive zone and fired a shot over Mammoth netminder Dillon Ward’s left shoulder 43 seconds into the opening session to give the Knighthawks a 1-0 lead.
Jacob Ruest got the Mammoth on the board two minutes later with a transition goal after receiving a lob pass from Scott Carnegie right outside the crease and blasting a shot past Rochester goaltender Steve Fryer’s left side to knot the game at one.
Knighthawks forward Holden Cattoni re-established Rochester’s lead with a quick strike from the left side before Turner Evans skipped a bounce shot past Ward on the next possession to give the Knighthawks an early 3-1 lead.
Turner Evans logged his second of the night with a behind-the-back tally from the left side before Cory Highfield made it 5-1 as the result of a cross-checking penalty on Brett Craig called immediately following Evans’ goal.
Mammoth goaltender Tyler Carlson entered the game in relief of Dillon Ward following Highfield’s tally.
Following a holding penalty on Robert Hope, Highfield logged another power-play tally for the Knighthawks, marking Rochester’s fifth-consecutive goal.
“We weren’t moving our feet, talking, or doing any of the things that we wanted to do in the first half, but Tyler was able to get in there and played awesome,” Coyle shared.
Dylan Evans extended Rochester’s goal streak less than three minutes into the second quarter with a transition goal to give the Knighthawks a six-goal lead.
“We knew that after that loss last night, they were going to come out hungry,” Coyle said. “I felt like I prepared the guys, but we clearly weren’t ready and got behind the eight-ball very quickly.”
Mammoth forward Chris Wardle brought an end to Rochester’s scoring streak after causing a turnover in Colorado’s o-zone and completing the play with a diving goal past Fryer’s right side eight minutes into the second.
Digby kept the momentum rolling in Colorado’s favor after receiving a pass from Wardle outside the crease and creating space before getting his feet moving and burying a shot past Fryer to bring the Mammoth within four heading into halftime.
Déjà vu struck early in the third quarter as Digby notched his second-consecutive goal during Colorado’s opening second-half possession on an identical play to his second quarter marker by receiving a pass outside the crease from Wardle and slamming an overhand shot past Fryer’s left shoulder to bring the Mammoth within three.
Turner Evans competed his hat trick effort with a goal six minutes later to restore a four-goal lead for the Knighthawks.
Ryan Lee converted a diving effort by finishing an alley-oop pass from Ruest at the 9:12 mark to bring Colorado back within three. The third year forward repeated the effort 24 seconds later within a diving goal past Fryer to make it an 8-6 game. Wardle notched his second of the contest by finishing an empty back-door feed from Digby to decrease Rochester’s lead to one.
Lee completed his third quarter hat trick after controlling a high pass from Eli McLaughlin and shooting a laser past Fryer to tie the game at eight with three minutes remaining in the third session.
Ruest kept it going for the Mammoth by netting a speedy transition goal and finishing off a 2-on-1 breakaway to give Colorado its first lead of the game at the 13:14 mark.
After trailing by four at the half, Colorado focused and came together as a team to outscore the Knighthawks 6-1 in the third quarter and take a one-goal lead into the final session.
“We didn’t play a great first half, but we again proved our resilience and our offense heated up and came through big when we needed them to,” Carlson said. “Being down 7-1 and coming back as a team, that speaks for the character we have in that locker room.”
McLaughlin logged his 15th marker of the season with a miraculous diving goal after leaping from Fryer’s left and burying a goal past his right side to give Colorado its first two-goal lead of the contest.
The physical fourth quarter featured McLaughlin’s lone goal, as Colorado held Rochester to one goal in the second half behind a stalwart defensive effort from the Mammoth.
“As the game went on, we wore them down, which was part of our game plan – At halftime, we stressed the importance of staying on it and we knew eventually we would get some to go our way, and ultimately they did,” Carlson said.
After entering the game 10 minutes into the opening quarter, Tyler Carlson went on to save 37-of-40 Rochester shots and earned his first win of the season.
“It’s always nice when I get to play and show the boys what I can do,” Carlson said.
Chris Wardle led the Mammoth with six points (2g, 4a) while Tyler Digby (2g, 2a), Ryan Lee (3g, 1a) and Eli McLaughlin (1g, 3a) each notched four points in the win. Jacob Ruest chipped in three points (2g, 1a) while rookie Jake McNabb picked up two assists (0g, 2a) in his second career NLL contest.
Curtis Knight paced the Knighthawks in scoring, contributing six points (0g, 6a) on the evening. Turner Evans posted a hat trick (3g, 0a) while Cory Highfield chipped in two (2g, 0). Holden Cattoni was limited to three points (1g, 2a) while Steve Fryer stopped 34-of-44 in the loss.
Through 13 games, forward Ryan Lee leads the Mammoth in goals (25) and points (60) after recording four points (3g, 1a) against the Rochester Knighthawks March 8. Eli McLaughlin recorded three assists Sunday and paces Colorado scorers with 36 helpers on the season.
Lee’s four-point outing represents his seventh-consecutive three-plus point performance as the forward surpassed his previous career season-high point total Sunday at Pepsi Center. Lee has recorded a goal in 11 straight games as the Mammoth head into a bye week.
Tickets to Colorado’s March. 20 Lacrosse Out Cancer Sunday matchup against the Calgary Roughnecks, and all Mammoth home games, can be purchased at AltitudeTickets.com. Mammoth road games can be streamed live via Bleacher Report Live.