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Colorado Drops 15-7 Final as Saskatchewan play villains on Marvel Super Hero ™ Night

DENVER – The Colorado Mammoth dropped a 15-7 final to the Saskatchewan Rush Saturday night during Marvel Super Hero ™ Night. With 10,449 fans inside the LOUD HOUSE, the boys dug themselves quite the hole early and weren’t able to resurface as the March to May began.

Falling to 4-8 on the season, Colorado will now head east for a long trip to Toronto as the Rock prepare to host the 2022 NLL Champions just a few days after enduring a pair of back-to-back contests this weekend against the Las Vegas Desert Dogs and San Diego Seals.

Just 56 seconds into the contest, Rush forward Clark Walter got the green guys on the board, as the scorer’s initial shot hit the pipes and took a series of awkward bounces before trickling past Mammoth goaltender Dillon Ward at the 14:04 mark.

Doubling down just under two minutes later, Saskatchewan had some stellar ball movement throughout the set, which eventually led to Ward being forced to defend horizontally. Launching a bit of a side-armed bid, Rush forward Zach Manns made it 2-0.

Manns was just getting started apparently, as the talent came high around a screen and fired another saucy, side-armed bid past Ward, now three straight for Saskatchewan.

Precision passing comes on both sides of the floor though, as Dylan Kinnear and Tyson Gibson put on quite the dishing clinic midway through the opening quarter. With Nearsy sending a cross-set pass to Gibson, Gibson quickly corralled the pass and instantly sent it back across for an awaiting Chris Wardle, who beat Rush goaltender Frank Scigliano backside to get the good guys on the board.

Less than a minute later, the Magic Man Connor Robinson simply pulled up from distance and buried a heater, now 3-2 as the Mammoth put on their masks and capes and got the LOUD HOUSE rocking on Marvel Super Hero ™ Night.

But just 11 seconds later, the Rush had an answer, as a loose ball from the faceoff found its way into the hands of the green guys, who suddenly had a 2-on-none breakaway against Ward, which they finished, courtesy of Ryan Barnable.

Getting quite a few steps in on the set while working his way nearly 360 degree around the crease, Manns finished a pretty nice diving play with 1:41 left in the opening quarter, now 5-2 Rush.

The streak continued for the away team just 30 seconds later, as the other Ryan (Ryan Keenan) took advantage of a bit of space and sent a bouncer on net, which also found twine. The run marked Saskatchewan’s second three-goal run in the opening 15.

Capitalizing on a rare 4-on-4 opportunity, Colorado forward Eli McLaughlin pulled up and launched a fierce shot past Scigliano from quite some distance, getting the Mammoth back within three in the final seconds of the first quarter.

Mammoth forward Connor Kelly, aka CK40, wanted in on the fun as he was next up to put his skills on display. Converting with a step-down saucer, he closed the Rush’s lead to just two as Ball Arena exploded in approval!

But just seven seconds later, veteran Mike Messenger completed the transition play via a faceoff win to erase the effort. Two minutes later, another veteran performer in Robert Church got one for the Rush, thus creating an 8-4 game midway through quarter two. Now the team’s third three-goal stretch of the first half, Keenan notched his second of the night with two and a half minutes to play.

Finishing the opening 30 with a highlight reel, McLaughlin completed a high-effort diving bid, his second of the night, as he found twine en route to tumbling to the ground. Only to regain his balance and celebrate with the loudest fans in lacrosse!

Despite recapturing some momentum heading into the break, Saturday night’s villains escaped into the break with a four-goal lead, 9-5.

Whatever momentum Colorado had, Saskatchewan quickly stole it back, as Keenan completed his hat trick just over three minutes into the third.

Doing his best Drake impression, Keenan went back to back, picking up his fourth of the night, this time from distance, now 11-6.

Combining a nasty spin dodge with a little swim action, Eli went through and over his defender to complete a hat trick of his own en route to scoring his 30th marker of the season. Colorado climbed back within five with just over two minutes to play in quarter three.

But again, in retaliation fashion, Saskatchewan answered back just 47 seconds later, as Patrick Dodds finished a transition effort to record his fifth tally of the campaign.

Keenan was feeling himself Saturday, as he pulled up from the restraining line and tossed what looked like a low-effort, albeit highly successful, shot on net. Beating Ward, he gained his fifth on the net while chasing Ward, as netminder Tyler Carlson entered the contest in relief with 14:24 on the board.

With three minutes to play, Wardle recorded his second on the night courtesy of an insane rebound, collect and shoot, as the veteran sent a spicy bouncer on net, which ricocheted almost directly back to his stick. Wasting no time, he slammed it toward twine, successful this time, to bring Colorado back within six late.

Just 25 seconds later, however, it was the green No. 17 who lit the lamp, as Church worked his way inside before beating Carlson for the first time all night. Following it up with an empty-net conversion 32 seconds later, Church finished his hat trick.

Carlson allowed just one goal throughout the final 14:24, albeit he was sprinting onto the floor during the empty-netter, while ending the night with 11 saves on 12 shots on goal. Ward stopped 33-of-46 in the loss.

Eli McLaughlin (3g, 1a) and Chris Wardle (2g, 2a) led the scoring charge for Colorado with points each, while Zed Williams (0g, 2a), Connor Kelly (1g, 1a) and Connor Robinson (1g, 1a) represented the only other Mammoth players to manage double-digit point totals Saturday.

Colorado will now prepare to travel east next weekend during a showdown with the Toronto Rock on Saturday, March 9 at 3 p.m. MT before enduring a late-season bye the following weekend. Limited tickets remain to the Mammoth’s next LOUD HOUSE showdown, as the Rochester Knighthawks are primed to visit ball Arena March 23 on Colorado Lacrosse Night, so lock yours in and get ready to TUSK UP!!!

Colorado Mammoth Pro Lacrosse Team