DENVER – The Colorado Mammoth dropped a dramatic 14-13 overtime decision to Panther City Lacrosse Club Friday night inside Dickies Arena.
Connor Kelly had eight points (4g, 4a) for the Mammoth as Dillon Ward stopped 37-of-51 on the night, but the team fell to 1-2 on the road trip and now 3-6 on the season as a result of the loss.
With physical play dominating early, the teams battled knowing the Friday night showdown would represent their only regular season meeting on the year after clashing three times just last season.
It was Panther City Jason Knox who opened the contest’s scoring, getting his team an early lead 3:11 into the matchup. But in the flash of an eye, just four seconds later, Tim Edwards did his best Magic Man Connor Robinson impression, won the faceoff and instantly beat Panther City goaltender Nick Damude to even the game at ones.
Seeing former Mammoth draft selection turned budding star in forward Will Malcom get his first of the night less than a minute later, Colorado allowed a second-straight goal at the 7:42 mark, as Knox accepted a high pass right outside the crease and dunked it past Mammoth netminder Dillon Ward, now his second on the night.
Getting the good guys back in the game, Tyson Gibson recorded his ninth tally of the season with four minutes to play in the first. Making it two straight for Colorado, Mammoth forward Zed Williams got his first of the night just 24 seconds into quarter two.
With Panther City sophomore Jonathan Donville finding some top ched just over a minute later, there was a momentary lapse in scoring. Just a short one, though, as Mammoth forward Connor Kelly further extended his goal streak on his way to tying the game at 4-4. The kid can shoot, and the Mammoth are better off when he’s firing.
After allowing Austin Staats to rack up three in a row last weekend, Colorado again relinquished a natural hat trick, this time to rookie Ryan Sheridan. His first came in an answering fashion, just 14 seconds after Kelly gave his all to knot the game at fours.
Sheridan picked up his second of the night, cashing in after executing another set of fakes before beating Ward midway through the second. Repeating the scoring effort just 58 seconds later, this time entering the zone with a spin zone before switching hands and slamming another one home en route to completing his first-half hat trick.
Just 23 seconds later, a series of passing and some confusion the defensive substitutions lead to another Kelly conversion, his second on the night has the Mammoth battled back to within two.
As the back-and-forth affair continued, Pat Foley got on the board a mere 16 seconds later as Dickies Arena received another reason to cheer.
Taking advantage of a late-half timeout and finishing an insane quick stick dish, Gibson picked up goal No. 2 with less than two seconds to play in the opening 30. Regaining some quality momentum in the expiring moments of the half, Colorado was down 8-6 heading into the break.
Coming out of the pause and three minutes into the third, Mammoth forward Eli McLaughlin took advantage of a 5-on-4 look by recording his 19th goal of the season while willing Colorado back within one.
Sometimes plays look prettier than others, and this one definitely qualifies, as Kelly turned on the burners, sped around his defender and completed his fourth hat trick of the season with just over four minutes to play in the third. The game was now tied 8-8 and the last three belonged to the away team!
He has to have a patent out for this goal style at this point, as Mammoth forward Dylan Kinnear backed his defender down only the way Nearsy can before turning and spitting out an intense effort, beating Damude and giving his team the lead.
Finding his way to the scoresheet after more than 47 minutes of play, veteran forward Callum Crawford took advantage of a power-play look three minutes into the final period to re-tie the game at nine per side. Making it two in a row a minute and a half later, it was a long-range stinger from Malcom that earned Panther City a 10-9 lead.
Scrapping his way into the paint and firing a fierce bid past Damude, Williams notched his second of the night as he kept the dramatic contest even once again 6:21 into the fourth. Doubling down in his own way, McLaughlin found himself on the receiving end of a quick stick this time, burying his 20th on the season and giving the Mammoth an 11-10 lead midway through the final quarter.
While he may not have showed up much on the scouting report, with just three goals in five games ahead of Friday night’s showdown, Sheridan picked up his game-high fourth of the night with six minutes to play. Calling heat check a minute later, he inched within a career-first sock trick by securing his fifth conversion of the night. Gaining some space and shedding his defender before tucking a far side bid past Ward, the youngster was on fire.
Tying the game for the good guys while completing a hat-trick effort, Williams slammed one home to even the game once again, this time at 12-12.
Getting a HUGE fourth on the night, Kelly completed a back door look and went crashing into the boards as he gained Colorado a one-goal lead with two minutes to play.
With 34 seconds remaining, Malcom completed his hat trick in epic fashion, giving his team a shot to survive while evening the game at 13s as the dramatic back-and-forth contest continued.
Forcing an overtime period, it was Panther City who carried the momentum into the extra session. Winning the opening faceoff and opting not to call timeout, the squad executed in its first opportunity, as Donville finished the deal and advanced his team to 4-4 on the season.
As a result of the loss, Colorado fell to 3-6 on the season and will close out its four-game road trip against the Albany FireWolves next weekend.
Connor Kelly (4g, 4a) paced Mammoth scorers with eight points, while Eli McLaughlin (2g, 3a), Zed Williams (3g, 2a), Tyson Gibson (2g, 3a) and Connor Robinson (0g, 4a) enjoyed productive evenings. Dylan Kinnear (1g, 0a) and Tim Edwards (1g, 0a) also scored on a night where Edwards went 20-for-28 at the faceoff circle en route to surpassing the 1200 total wins in his career Friday night.
Colorado is set to spend one more weekend on the road before returning to Ball Arena Feb. 23 for a showdown with MVP candidate Jeff Teat and the New York Riptide during the organization’s Rumble at the LOUD HOUSE. Limited tickets for the Saturday, Feb. 23’s matchup remain available, so be sure to lock yours in and get ready to TUSK UP!