Scores / Schedule

Colorado Concludes 2024 Campaign via Clash with Halifax


DENVER – It hasn’t been a typical season for the Colorado Mammoth this year, by any means. Between missing All-Pro forward Ryan Lee for the entire season while digging themselves a bit of a hole via the squad’s slow start, it’s been more of a learning season for the youngsters and team in general as they prepare to miss the postseason for the first time since 2010.

Completing its only back-to-back weekend of the 2023-24 campaign April 13 when the team travelled to Michelob ULTRA Arena for a late-season showdown with Las Vegas, it was the Desert Dogs who captured the dramatic, one-goal contest. Dropping the 12-11 contest to the second-year expansion squad, the teams both now bring matching 5-12 records into their respective Week 20 finales as they turn the page to 2025.

RELATED: Colorado Concludes Back-to-Back with 12-11 Final in Las Vegas

Seeing both Connor Kelly (5g, 2a) and Tyson Gibson (3g, 4a) pace the squad with seven points each, Mammoth fans watched on as Kelly put on a goal-scoring clinic as he continues to stand out during his first season in burgundy and black. Gibson, continuing to unlock bits of his game as his season and overall continue career, also looked good on a night where the team’s leading point-earner Eli McLaughlin notched just three helpers (0g, 3a).

A potentially good sign for the future, Mammoth lefty Thomas Vela scored a season-high three points (0g, 3a) during his sixth game suiting up for Colorado. Fellow youngster Jon Phillips also notched his first tally of the season on his way to a season-high two points (1g, 1a), albeit having only played in two games this year.

With Dillon Ward banged up in the team’s Friday night decision against the Philadelphia Wings, it was goaltender Nate Faccin who saw his first official NLL minutes, stopping 26-of-33 throughout the first half before veteran Tyler Carlson assumed the net for the duration of the contest. Winning 17 of his 26 draw opportunities Saturday, faceoff specialist Tim Edwards officially surpassed Jamie Hanford as the franchise’s all-time leader in faceoff wins, now with 1,305 in his career!

While playoffs are officially off the table for Colorado, the boys will still look to make the most of their final showdown of the season as the team heads to the Atlantic time zone as they challenge the (9-8) Halifax Thunderbirds Saturday night inside Scotiabank Centre. Halifax has plenty to play for, as they currently occupy the No. 6 overall seed. But with five clubs (including the Halifax Thunderbirds, Panther City Lacrosse Club, Vancouver Warriors, Saskatchewan Rush and New York Riptide) competing for the last two available spots in the NLL postseason picture, Halifax will likely be not only getting all of their regulars on the floor and trying to capture a late-season win, but with a several tie-breakers potentially factoring in depending on the results of the other four teams, the Thunderbirds will be looking to score, thus driving up their overall goal differential.

With 214 goals scored this season, second only to the No. 5 (10-7) Buffalo Bandits, the purple and orange contingent has been firing on all cylinders this season, though it’s been by a bit of a committee approach, as none of the team’s players have met the 100-point mark yet with just one game remaining (whereas several of the league’s Top 5 ranked teams have one, if not two, players to surpass the mark already). Leading the charge thus far, it’s been Clarke Petterson, Austin Shanks, Ryan Benesch, Cody Jamieson and Dawson Theede who haven’t been afraid of sharing the load, as each of the five athletes have enjoyed 50+ point seasons so far. Add in a pair of the most potent special teams’ players in goaltender Warren Hill and faceoff specialist Jake Withers and it’s easy to see why this squad has a shot to make some noise in the upcoming postseason.

A win Saturday night would also go a long way in the team drawing a middle of the pack opponent, for if they were to lose, they risk the chance they fall down to either the No. 7 or No. 8 seed, which would mean they take on either of the league’s top threats in the (14-3) Toronto Rock or the (12-5) San Diego Seals.

Kicking off the slate, Colorado and Halifax are set to clash for the first time in four years, the early showcase represents the first of six NLL contests taking place on Saturday, sharing the slate spotlight with each of Albany x New York, Panther City x Calgary, Toronto x Saskatchewan, Buffalo x Las Vegas and Philadelphia x Rochester, the burgundy boys will look to close out the campaign with a win as they travel to Halifax, Nova Scotia April 20.

Saturday afternoon’s matchup with the Thunderbirds is set to begin at 4:30 p.m. MT inside Scotiabank Centre, thus representing Colorado’s ninth and final road contest of the season and last game overall. Fans can catch the team’s 18th showdown of the year locally on Altitude TV 2, stream the matchup live on ESPN+ and stay tuned to and Colorado Mammoth social media channels for game highlights, postgame recaps and beyond!

Leading the Way

While penalty minutes aren’t always the most glamorous of statistics recorded throughout an NLL season, they are an important factor in the physical game we play. Ask any player: from goaltender Dillon Ward to faceoff specialist Tim Edwards to the score-forward talents of Eli McLaughlin and beyond, they are an important part of the game. Cashing in when given a man-up opportunity and hunkering down when defending on the PK, it brings drama to the already-entertaining showcase. With a team-high 31 penalty minutes on the season, Jordan Gilles hasn’t been afraid to get physical when needed. While a majority (25) of those minutes were allocated during the team’s season-opener, as the defenseman picked up two 10-minutes game misconduct penalties alongside a five-minute fighting major. But looking past the figures themselves, Gilles was merely sticking up for his teammates, which eventually led to a scrap while there was already a fight brewing, later leading to a one-game suspension. Limiting himself to just six penalty minutes throughout his other 15 appearances, Gilles has been affective, rowdy and disciplined as he continues to lead the defensive veteran core alongside Robert Hope and company. Hope continues to lead the team in loose balls and caused turnovers while leading the league with 28 blocked shots while joining the following players in leading the charge so far, including:

Points: 88 (Eli McLaughlin)

Goals: 40 (Eli McLaughlin)

Assists: 48 (Eli McLaughlin)

Loose Balls: 126 (Robert Hope)

Caused Turnovers: 21 (Robert Hope)

Penalty Minutes: 31 (Jordan Gilles)

Blocked Shots: 28 (Robert Hope)

Faceoff Wins: 229 (Tim Edwards)

Consistency is Key

Scoring a season-high five goals amongst seven points (5g, 2a) last Saturday as the Mammoth visited the Las Vegas Desert Dogs, Mammoth forward Connor Kelly notched a new career-high goal total after exploding in Sin City. Up to 37 on the season in just 14 appearances, he surpassed his previous record from the 2022-23 season, where he logged 35 tallies in 16 games. With just one regular season showdown remaining, CK40 will look to extend his new campaign-best while attempting to reach, if not pass, his career-high overall point total of 67. All while making one fewer appearance than last season. Having produced 35 goals and 32 assists last year with the Albany FireWolves during his breakout effort, Kelly is now north of the 60-point mark for the second-straight campaign as he continues to take steps toward greatness. And for as much as we love a good helper on the floor, it’s goals that win games: Exactly what the American box product has provided during his first season in Colorado. Joining the talent in record-setting fashion, fellow scorer Tyson Gibson also continues to put up career-best figures, as he’s now up to an NLL-best 54 points during his third season with the Mammoth. Beating his previous total of 43 points (16g, 27a) from his 2020 NLL Rookie of the Year season, Gibson has gone on to log new bests in goals (21), assists (33) and loose balls (62) with one game remaining. The duo joins Eli McLaughlin and Evan Downey in the Consistency Club just one week after seeing Zed Williams snap his 15-game point streak in Las Vegas in having logged at least one point in each game played this season, including:

Eli McLaughlin: (2g, 3a), (1g, 2a), (2g, 2a), (3g, 2a), (3g, 3a), (2g, 4a), (5g, 5a), (0g, 3a), (2g, 3a), (3g, 3a), (4g, 5a), (3g, 1a), (2g, 0a), (4g, 3a), (2g, 2a), (2g, 4a), (0g, 3a) = 88 points (40g, 48a)

Connor Kelly: (3g, 2a), (2g, 1a), (3g, 1a), (1g, 2a), (4g, 0a), (1g, 1a), (3g, 0a), (4g, 4a), (2g, 3a), (1g, 6a), (1g, 1a), (4g, 1a), (3g, 1a), (5g, 2a) = 62 points (37g, 25a)

Tyson Gibson: (1g, 4a), (1g, 2a), (2g, 1a), (0g, 2a), (0g, 2a), (1g, 0a), (2g, 3a), (1g, 1a), (2g, 3a), (2g, 1a), (4g, 2a), (0g, 1a), (2g, 0a), (0g, 1a), (0g, 5a), (0g, 1a), (3g, 4a) = 54 points (21g, 33a)

Evan Downey: (0g, 1a) = 1 point (0g, 1a)

As East As They Come

A typical American lacrosse fan may not even be aware that North America has a hidden, secret, if you will, fifth time zone out east. The very place that the burgundy boys will travel to as they wrap up the 2023-24 campaign in enemy territory. And with the Atlantic time zone-lurking Thunderbirds just one game over .500 this season, it’s very much a game that Colorado could “steal” in theory. But a majority of that will depend on who suits up for the Mammoth as they continue to get some eyes on the new guys.

Colorado’s late-season opposition has excelled at various rates throughout the season, but endured a bit of a slow start to its campaign in similar fashion to the Mammoth. Once the team got back to 3-3, it’s very much been an average season overall. But with the league’s Unified Standings shaking things up for each of the NLL’s 15 teams, suddenly 9-8 is a record more than half of the league would love to have at this point in the season. Having dropped contests to several of the teams ahead of Halifax in the standings, including the Toronto Rock, San Diego Seals and Albany FireWolves, the purple and orange squad hasn’t had any top-tier wins yet in 2024. But in the fastest game on two feet, everything comes 60 minutes at a time. And with the team’s postseason spot already clinched, is there a chance they mail this one in and rest some of their regulars before next week’s gauntlet begins?

The Thunderbirds like to score. And with five players finding themselves north of the 50-point mark in Clarke Petterson (38g, 59a), Austin Shanks (22g, 59a), Ryan Benesch (42g, 36a), Cody Jamieson (20g, 39a) and Dawson Theede (28g, 27a), Halifax’s offense has plenty of tools in the shed when it comes to offensive firepower. Having each played less than 10 games this season, both Randy Staats (20g, 22a) and Aaron Woods (13g, 17a) are each at 30 points or more, making them one of the most well-rounded offensive units in the game right now. Add in several quality defenseman and transition talents like Ryan Terefenko, Graeme Hossack, faceoff specialist Jake Withers, Tyson Bell … and put them in front of veteran goaltender Warren Hill and well, it’s not surprise they find themselves in the thick of the postseason hunt once again.

Get in the Game

Mammoth games can be viewed on Altitude TV and streamed live via ESPN+. Saturday’s April 20 road matchup against the Halifax Thunderbirds can be viewed locally on Altitude TV 2 and streamed live on ESPN+. Mammoth fans can keep an eye on the team’s social media channels and for the latest news, transactions and organizational updates as the 2023-24 NLL season comes to a close!

Fans interested in securing Colorado Mammoth Season Ticket Memberships for the 2024-25 season can check out more details about next season’s options here!

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