The Colorado Mammoth secured its first victory of the season during an 8-7 overtime win while playing spoiler to the Calgary Roughnecks’ championship celebrations as the 2018-19 NLL league victors raised its championship banner Saturday night. The evening featured a scrappy, defensive battle and was headlined by career-first goals for forwards Will Malcom and Dylan Kinnear and Calgary native Brett Craig.
Calgary got off to a quick start when Curtis Dickson converted a shot from just inside the restriction line to open the scoring for the Roughnecks less than two minutes into the first period before Tyler Pace added a second goal three minutes later.
Jacob Ruest got the Mammoth on the board with six minutes to play in the first by converting a precise feed from Chris Wardle past the right leg of Roughnecks goaltender Christian Del Bianco. Dan Taylor increased Calgary’s lead to 3-1 with a late first quarter power-play conversion by diving into the crease and beating Dillon Ward.
Will Malcom sparked an offensive second quarter for the Mammoth by netting his first career goal at the 11:37 mark to bring Colorado back within one. Just over two minutes later, Malcom logged his second career marker with a quick strike from the right side to tie the game at 3-3.
“It was a great feeling to get my first one and I’m glad I was able to help out the team,” said rookie forward Will Malcom, reflecting on his first NLL goal. “We did a great job tonight taking the game shift-by-shift and staying active at both ends of the floor. We have a good amount of speed on the squad, so we’ll look to continue using that to our advantage next week in Georgia.”
Jacob Ruest established Colorado’s first lead of the contest with six minutes left in the second quarter by converting a rebound from a Ryan Lee shot for his second goal of the evening and team-high fifth goal. Dylan Kinnear kept the momentum in favor of Colorado after receiving a behind-the-back pass from Chris Wardle and blindly chucking the ball on net as he fell to the ground for the no-look conversion.
Roughnecks forward Marshall King brought Calgary back within a goal near the end of the second quarter after a quick pump fake and conversion over Ward’s left shoulder as physical tendencies continued to escalate on the turf as the half came to an end. Colorado headed to the locker room with a combined five goals and nine assists on 20 shots.
Roughnecks defenseman Eli Salama provided the lone third quarter goal with a speedy shot to beat Dillon Ward and tie the game at 5-5. Solid goaltending and defensive spacing were key for both teams, as the third period came to an end with only one goal allowed.
Brett Craig re-established Colorado’s lead five minutes into the fourth quarter with his first career goal by streaking down the field on a breakaway and bouncing a low, spinning shot past Calgary’s Christian Del Bianco to make the contest 6-5 in favor of the Mammoth.
Marshall King logged his second goal of the game less than three minutes later to knot the game at 6-6 with seven minutes in regulation remaining.
After holding the ball and surveying his options, Kyle Killen converted a diving goal from behind Del Bianco’s crease at the 10:08 mark before Calgary’s Dan Taylor provided yet another equalizer less than 30 seconds later to force overtime.
Following seven minutes of an intense, high-energy overtime session, Jordan Gilles scooped up a loose ball and sprinted down the field before providing the game-winning goal on a breakaway conversion past Del Bianco on the right side of the net.
The 8-7 overtime victory against the divisional opponent Roughnecks marks Colorado’s first road trip and first win for the 2019-20 campaign, bringing the team to a 1-1 record.
Led by Dillon Ward’s 46 saves, the goaltender picked up his first win of the season and has registered 100 total saves in his first two games, which ranks second in the league (Del Bianco ranks first with 104.)
“After dropping our first game by one goal, we wanted to come out and secure a win before the holidays – I think we executed our game plan and we got a good bounce at the end,” goaltender Dillon Ward said following the Mammoth’s road victory.
“I love how composed and confident our defense is playing right now – We’ve established a core defensively and have built around these guys and I think we’re going to do some great things this year defensively.”
Through two games, the competitive West Division boasts four teams with 1-1 records while the San Diego Seals sit at 0-2 through four weeks of league play.
Colorado will look to continue its consistent defensive efforts as the Mammoth travel to Georgia to face off with the Swarm at Infinite Energy Arena Dec. 28. Through two contests, forward Jacob Ruest leads the Mammoth in goals (5) and points (7) as Eli McLaughlin continues to pace Colorado players with four assists. Robert Hope’s 22 loose balls ties him for first overall in the league alongside San Diego’s Kyle Rubisch.
Tickets to Colorado’s Jan. 4 matchup against the Vancouver Warriors and all Mammoth home games can be purchased at AltitudeTickets.com. Mammoth road games can be streamed live via Bleacher Report Live.