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2023 NLL Playoff Format: Colorado’s Road to a Repeat

EDITOR’S NOTE: Colorado defeated San Diego 13-12 in the NLL Quarterfinals round and is now set to square off with the Calgary Roughnecks in a best-of-three series, beginning Thursday, May 11 inside the Loud House at 7:30 p.m.

The Mammoth will then hit the road for Game 2, and if necessary, Game 3, both to be played at Scotiabank Saddledome, on Saturday, May 13 and Saturday, May 20, if needed.

Four teams remain in contention for the 2023 NLL Championship, including the Colorado Mammoth, Calgary Roughnecks, Buffalo Bandits and Toronto Rock.

With the 2023 NLL postseason set to begin this weekend, we’re taking a quick look at the league’s new playoff format and what a path to the NLL championship could look like.

As eight teams enter the postseason, including the No. 1-seeded San Diego Seals, No. 2 seed Calgary Roughnecks, Panther City Lacrosse Club and your Colorado Mammoth representing the West Conference, the battle for the East Conference will be between the Buffalo Bandits, Toronto Rock, Rochester Knighthawks and Halifax Thunderbirds.

While the last three NLL champions have hailed from the West, it was the Georgia Swarm who last captured the honors on behalf of the East, but after duking it out with Halifax last weekend, will miss the postseason despite their historic midseason turnaround.

With Toronto set to host Halifax Friday May 5 at 5:30 p.m. MT and the Bandits prepared to face off with the Knighthawks Saturday May 6 at 5 p.m. MT on the opposite side of the continent, the defending champion Colorado Mammoth will travel back to Pechanga Arena on Friday for an 8 p.m. MT Quarterfinals matchup against the San Diego Seals, while the Roughnecks will host Panther City Saturday at 7:30 p.m. MT in the one-game round.

The first round of playoff action, known as the Quarterfinals, consists of four single showdowns, with the winner of each 60-minute match advancing to the West and East Conference Finals, respectively.

Should Colorado defeat San Diego Friday night, they would go on to face the winner of the Calgary vs. Panther City Quarterfinals matchup.

This year’s Conference Finals will again be a best-of-three series, but the round as a whole will occur over the course of two weeks at the most, as opposed to last year’s best-of-three series occurring over the course of three weeks, when needed.

Essentially, the teams will play the first two games of each Conference Finals within the same week (May 11-15), with a second week of action coming into play if a third game is needed in either series (May 18-22). Conference champions will then meet during the best-of-three NLL Finals, scheduled to begin the final week of May.

The other new element to this year’s postseason schedule is that the higher-seeded team in both the Conference Finals and NLL Finals will have the option of either starting the series at home or on the road.

This opens a variety of scenarios for locations and timing for this year’s postseason matchups. As the No. 4 seed, Colorado will only have the option of making that decision if its able to advance to the NLL Finals and meet a fellow No. 4 seed. If the Mammoth are able to earn a berth in the West Conference Finals, the organization will await a decision from either Calgary or Panther City to figure out if the best-of-three Conference Finals begin inside either Dickies Arena, Scotiabank Saddledome or within the confines of the Loud House.

More details on the NLL Quarterfinals can be found within the NLL’s postseason announcement below.

RELATED: National Lacrosse League Playoffs Begin Friday, May 5, Schedule Features Two Games on TSN and ESPNU

All four games will be available to view via ESPN+ and TSN+, with additional regional viewing options throughout the eight respective markets.

Colorado’s opening round matchup against the Seals will air live on Altitude TV and ESPNU+, with faceoff slated to take place on Friday, May 5 at 8 p.m. MT.

Mammoth fans can stay tuned to coloradomammoth.com and Colorado Mammoth social media channels throughout the week and into the Quarterfinals slate for the latest team information, transactions and everything about the 2023 NLL postseason.



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