Colorado Completes Comeback, Defends Home Turf During Home Opener
January 7, 2023By: James Youness, Mammoth PR
The Colorado Mammoth picked up a 9-8 victory over the Calgary Roughnecks Saturday night during the team’s home opener. Highlighted by the loudest fans in lacrosse witnessing the club’s second championship banner to the Ball Arena rafters prior to the matchup, the Colorado club followed the win up by receiving their championship rings from the 2021-22 season.
After winning the opening faceoff, the Roughnecks quickly scored on their opening possession, less than 30 seconds into the contest, after Jesse King got free after a set of screens and quickly peeled to the net before beating Ward over his left shoulder. Tyler Pace got on the board at the 4:20 mark of the first, extending Calgary’s lead to two.
Courtesy of an illegal substitution penalty called on Calgary with just over two minutes left in the opening quarter, Rhys Duch logged his 1000th career point, via a power-play strike, to bring the Mammoth back within one. Connor Robinson knotted the contest at two nearly four minutes into the second.
Retaking the lead a minute and a half later, defenseman Eli Salama converted a shorthanded goal past Ward, followed up three minutes later by an extra-man tally from Tanner Cook to create a 4-2 game. King picked up his second of the night two minutes later to increase the lead to three heading into the half.
Just over a minute into the third quarter, on the power-play, forward Eli McLaughlin fired a fiery step-down laser from the top of the point to reduce Calgary’s lead to two, a 5-3 contest. Robinson followed it up with a quick strike less than two minutes later to get the LOUD HOUSE rocking.
Calgary would answer back four and a half minutes into the third, but McLaughlin stayed hot, picking up his second of the evening with a long-range conversion. After the Roughnecks were called for a penalty midway through the third, forward Chris Wardle, in his first game of the season, took the rock to the house and beat Calgary goaltender Christian Del Bianco up high to tie the game at sixes.
Seth Van Schepen regained the lead for the visiting team during an odd-man transition opportunity, which forced several of Colorado’s forwards to play defense, but the opposition was able to convert, making a 7-6 game.
Connor Robinson wasn’t going away quietly though, as the B.C. native fired a spicy shot on net, which found twine, to complete the forward’s first hat trick effort of the young season. That wasn’t enough though, as the magician racked up his fourth of the night two minutes into the fourth.
Tyler Pace would eventually answer, but Robinson fired back almost immediately with a low bouncing shot, which trickled past Del Bianco to reinstate the lead. Despite drawing a pair of penalties in the last four minutes, Colorado was able to kill both of Calgary’s extra-man opportunities, including two 6-on-4 sets after they pulled Del Bianco, but the Mammoth’s defense proved superior.
Connor Robinson paced Mammoth scorers with six points (5g, 1a), while Rhys Duch recorded five (1g, 4a) en route to picking up his 1,000th career point. Mike Burke logged a season-high four points (0g, 4a), while Eli doubled down with four himself (2g, 2a) in the victory. The contest’s second star, Mammoth goaltender Dillon Ward, racked up 49 saves while limiting the conference rival to eight scores on the evening.
Jesse King’s five points (2g, 3a) represented Calgary’s highest total on the night, with Tanner Cook (2g, 2a), Dan Taylor (0g, 3a) and Tyler Pace (2g, 1a) rounding out secondary scoring efforts for the Roughnecks.
Colorado will now prepare to host the Saskatchewan Rush at Ball Arena Friday, Jan. 13 after suffering an 18-6 decision up north during Faceoff Weekend. For the latest details on the team, be sure to stay tuned to coloradomammoth.com and Colorado Mammoth social media channels.
Tickets for Colorado’s Jan. 7 home opener at the Loud House can be purchased here.
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