COLORADO MAMMOTH (8-7) VS. SAN DIEGO SEALS (12-3)
FRI APRIL 14 | BALL ARENA
7 P.M. MT FACEOFF
ESPNU | ESPN+
By securing a clutch 12-5 win over the Vancouver Warriors last weekend inside Ball Arena, Colorado has assembled its second two-game winning streak of the year after enduring a bit of an injury-riddled roller coaster for the first two thirds of the season. Beginning the season with a bit of as asterisk 18-6 loss against the Saskatchewan Rush, Colorado went on to begin the season 3-1 after collecting a season-best three wins in a row.
Speaking of 3-1, Vancouver held an early lead over Colorado last weekend as the first quarter came to a close. Eventually taking a 4-3 advantage to the break, the Mammoth came out with its patented “Down 5” mentality and sent a barrage of quality looks at veteran goaltender Aaron bold throughout the final 30. After allowing a goal to the Warriors’ Chase Scanlan three and a half minutes into the second quarter, All-Pro Dillon Ward allowed just one more goal during the final 41 minutes of play, some 30-plus minutes later, as Ward and the team’s stalwart defensive unit eventually held Vancouver to just five goals, a season low for a Mammoth opponent.
RELATED: Mammoth Secures Clutch 12-5 Win over Warriors Amidst Playoff Push
While the defense definitely did its job, Colorado’s O-unit came out with some passionate picks and plays, outscoring the Warriors 9-1 in the second half. Seeing yet another standout performance from forward Eli McLaughlin (4g, 1a), Ryan Lee (1g, 3a), Zed Williams (2g, 1a), Connor Robinson (1g, 2a), Ty Thompson (1g, 2a) and Tyson Gibson (2g, 0a) did the heavy lifting for Colorado in the one-sided contest.
Now, the Mammoth will look to tie its season-best three-win mark Friday night at the Loud House as the defending champs prepare to host the best in the West, the San Diego Seals.
McLaughlin paced scoring efforts for the Mammoth, racking up a season-high eight points (3g, 5a) and earning his sixth hat trick, while forward Zed Williams recorded his fifth hat trick of the campaign amidst his six-point (3g, 3a) outing. Ryan Lee chipped in four points (2g, 2a), including a late power-play tally to help solidify the 11-9 final, with Connor Robinson (1g, 3a), Chris Wardle (1g, 2a) and Evan Downey (1g, 2a) continuing to chime in.
Just as important as the individual win, the defending 2022 NLL Champions have begun the year with a 6-2 record inside Ball Arena behind the rowdy support of the LOUD HOUSE! After Securing a 7-2 home record overall last year during the championship run, Colorado will look to get back to that same mark in hopes of qualifying for the 2023 playoffs as the organization is set to play its final home game of the season Friday night.
With the Seals continuing to occupy the West’s No. 1 seed, courtesy of its 12-3 record and Colorado currently occupying the fourth spot in the West Conference, the two organizations are presently set to meet in the first round of postseason action if the playoffs were to begin today. The Mammoth are already primed to face the Seals in two of its last three regular season matchups of the season, so if that pairing was to come to life, on top of the rivals’ storied history, it would be an absolute must-watch for lacrosse fans around the league.
With the 11-5 Calgary Roughnecks and 9-7 Panther City Lacrosse Club taking up the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, respectively, as Week 20 begins, Panther City and Calgary will clash in two of the final three weeks of regular season action, meaning Mammoth fans have a lot to watch for when the teams faceoff at an identical starting time of 7 p.m. on Friday night. With an immediate rematch pending in Week 21, potentially to settle a regular season series between the two competitive teams, the entire West Conference picture essentially lies in the balance of the four mentioned teams, with the Saskatchewan Rush needing to win out and receive some help from the pack in order to make a push. With Colorado sitting one game back from Panther City, Mammoth fans should be rooting for Calgary over the next two weeks while hoping Colorado can take care of business within its own final matchups, as the Mammoth own the regular season series advantage over Panther City. If Colorado and Panther City eventually swap 3 and 4 seeds, the Mammoth would be eligible to spend their quarterfinal contest in either Calgary or San Diego.
Making things a little more complicated, (but again, just win our games and we’re good), the East Conference currently has three 7-8 teams which are looking to steal a spot out West. With Colorado already defeating the trending Georgia Swarm earlier this season, Mammoth fans can also keep an eye on the Philadelphia Wings and Halifax Thunderbirds during the remaining March to May stretch.
As the team’s overall health and player availability continue to trend toward 100%, the Mammoth were forced to move veteran forward Chris Wardle to the Injured Reserve List prior to last weekend’s contest against Vancouver, and in a corresponding move, placed right-handed forward Brett McIntyre on the Active Roster. Wardle’s availability remains questionable for this weekend’s bout with the Seals, with a few other players dealing with minor bumps and bruises. But with just three games remaining in the 2022-23 NLL regular season, Colorado will need all of the firepower it can get, as they’re set to compete against the Saskatchewan Rush next weekend, sandwiched between a pair of matchups against last year’s West Conference Finals contenders.
Mammoth fans can stay tuned to coloradomammoth.com, the team’s social media channels and NLL.com’s transaction page for the team’s latest transactions, news and beyond heading into this weekend’s contest against the Warriors.
Friday’s matchup at the Loud House represents the second of three regular season matchups with the Seals and the second to be hosted inside Ball Arena. The crucial late-season, West Conference clash is slated to begin at 7 p.m. MT and can be viewed ESNPU and ESPN+.
Last Time They Played
The Colorado Mammoth dropped a 13-9 final earlier this season at Ball Arena during the team’s fifth game of the season after goaltender Dillon Ward was deemed a last-minute scratch due to an injury. Falling to 3-2 on the year, the Mammoth were still pretty banged up at that point of the campaign, but fought back in the second half to make it a respectable deficit after surrendering the first five goals of the game and trailing 7-2 at halftime. While Colorado would outscore San Diego 7-6 in the second half, the Seals continued their successful start to the season while picking up another win in Denver.
Eli McLaughlin (3g, 1a) and Connor Robinson (2g, 2a) paced Mammoth scorers in the matchup, with Rhys Duch (0g, 2a), Robert Hope (0g, 2a) and Brett McIntyre the only other Colorado players to post double-digit totals in the loss. Tyler Carlson stopped 44-of-57 in his first start of the year, while Seals’ goaltender Chris Origlieri stopped 37-of-46 in the win. Wes Berg had himself a seven-point outing (2g, 5a), while Dane Dobbie (4g, 2a), Curtis Dickson (3g, 2a) and Kevin Crowley (2g, 2a) did the heavy lifting. Dobbie, Dickson and Crowley are all in their first or second year with the free agent-friendly destination, who have all had success outside of San Diego, but have yet to bring the coveted championship back to San Diego.
Leading the Way
Through the team’s first 15 games of the 2022-23 NLL campaign, forward Eli McLaughlin has worked well as both a scorer and assist man since Ryan Lee has returned to the lineup. Let’s be honest, he was killing it before too, but with the team’s quarterback back in action, Liger has been dispatched as a scoring threat, never afraid to crash a crease or send a long-range laser on net. Pacing the team in overall scoring (66 points), goals (33) and assists (33), #51 has been 1:1 for a majority of the season as the veteran continues to identify his role on any given night.
Working alongside Zed Williams and Connor Robinson, who have amassed a team second-best 57 points (31g, 26a) and third-best 56 points (29g, 27a), respectively, the Mammoth will be one of a few teams around the NLL to have three 30-goal scorers so far this season once Robinson picks up his next conversion. Having scored in 12 of 14 games in which he’s participated, including the last four-straight, Robinson’s 30th will likely come Friday night against the Seals. After surpassing the 40-goal mark last season, there’s no ceiling to the talented forward. Meanwhile for the big-bodied Williams, who’s also done well in balancing his scoring opportunities while keeping teammates involved, he’s one of the biggest mismatches in the game of lacrosse, inside or out, and will definitely be circled on the Seals’ scouting report after helping to eliminate the purple and yellow squad from the postseason just one year ago. Forwards Ryan Lee (5g, 26a) and Chris Wardle (7g, 22a) round out the Top 5 scorers for the Mammoth heading into Friday’s matchup against the Seals.
After winning 15-of-21 faceoffs during last weekend’s win over Vancouver, Tim Edwards has continued to be an immense presence at the dot for Colorado. Continuing to rank among the league’s best faceoff specialists, he’s now secured 220-of-367 draws on the season (60%), now passing Tyrell Hamer-Jackson with the fourth-most among all NLL players. After collecting 11 loose balls last weekend, Captain Robert Hope’s 130 scoops continue to set the pace for Colorado, while fellow defenseman Warren Jeffrey leads the way with 16 caused turnovers after logging two last weekend.
Consistency is Key
When Colorado’s offensive unit is finding production, it’s usually through a combination of Ryan Lee, Eli McLaughlin, Zed Williams or Connor Robinson. After racking up five points (4g, 1a) during the team’s 12-5 victory over Vancouver, it was McLaughlin’s four-goal effort that stood tallest. While he hasn’t been afraid to stay involved with picks and assists, Liger has been a threat to opposing goaltenders as soon as the opening whistle blows. From last-second diving efforts to power-play spectacles, 5-on-5 conversions or even off the draw, McLaughlin has displayed his ability to be a walking toolbox. A lethal, walking toolbox, that is. While Colorado’s offense shows up in some games better than others, it’s McLaughlin who represents the heart and soul of the O-unit, and joins the following Mammoth players to record at least one point in each contest played this season, including:
Eli McLaughlin (0g, 5a), (4g, 3a), (2g, 1a), (1g, 3a) (3g, 1a), (2g, 4a), (2g, 1a), (4g, 2a), (3g, 1a), (0g, 3a), (3g, 2a), (2g, 1a), (3g, 5a), (4g, 1a) = 66 points (33g, 33a)
Zed Williams (2g, 0a), (3g, 5a), (3g, 0a), (1g, 0a), (1g, 2a), (2g, 1a), (1g, 3a), (1g, 3a), (3g, 1a), (3g, 1a), (2g, 3a), (4g, 3a), (3g, 3a), (2g, 1a) = 57 points (31g, 26a)
Connor Robinson (1g, 0a), (0g, 1a), (5g, 1a), (4g, 1a), (2g, 2a), (4g, 3a), (1g, 4a), (1g, 1a), (2g, 3a), (0g, 3a), (3g, 0a), (4g, 3a), (1g, 3a), (1g, 2a) = 56 points (29g, 27a)
Ryan Lee (2g, 8a), (0g, 6a), (0g, 7a), (2g, 2a), (1g, 3a) = 31 points (5g, 26a)
Brett McIntyre (1g, 1a), (1g, 1a), (0g, 1a), (1g, 4a), (1g, 1a), (1g, 0a), (1g, 0a), (1g, 0a) = 15 points (7g, 8a)
Tyson Gibson (0g, 2a), (1g, 2a), (1g, 3a), (1g, 0a), (0g, 2a), (2g, 0a) = 14 points (5g, 9a)
Get in the Game
Mammoth games can be viewed on Altitude TV and streamed live via ESPN+. Friday’s game against the Seals can be viewed on ESPNU and ESPN+. Mammoth fans can keep an eye on coloradomammoth.com and the team’s social media channels for the latest news, transactions and organizational updates throughout the 2022-23 NLL season.
RELATED: Altitude Announces 2022-23 Colorado Mammoth Broadcast Schedule
Limited tickets for Colorado’s April 14 Fan Appreciation Night matchup against the San Diego Seals are available for purchase.