The Colorado Mammoth dropped a 14-12 final against the Vancouver Warriors Saturday night at Rogers Arena as the squad attempted a fourth quarter comeback, but ultimately fell short, now falling to 6-7 on the season with five games remaining.
After a scoreless opening five minutes of action between the West Conference rivals, Mammoth forward Connor Robinson got his team on the board early, deciding he would have himself a game. With teammate Ryan Lee going to work on the opposite side of the offense, the quarterback surveyed his options before sending a quick back-door pass to C-Rob, who quickly converted.
Four minutes later, what would represent Vancouver’s only goal in the opening 15 minutes of play, veteran Shawn Evans evened the score for the Warriors with a strike from the left side, beating Colorado netminder Dillon Ward to his right.
With three minutes to play in the first, Robinson logged his 25th of the season and second of the night by sending a sick side-armed bouncer past Vancouver goaltender Aaron Bold to re-establish a lead for the visiting squad.
Then, in dramatic fashion and as the first quarter came to a close, Colorado’s Eli McLaughlin finished a speedy transition tally with a diving effort with less than a second to play to make it a 3-1 ballgame after the opening 15. The run, started by defenseman Jordan Gilles, was a 3-on-2 look, as Gilles kicked it a quick pass to Lee, who connected with a streaking McLaughlin for the tally.
But, just as the Warriors were limited to one goal in the second, Colorado would be held to one themselves in the second quarter, as Connor Robinson completed his first half hat trick midway through the period.
Eventually outscoring Colorado 4-1 throughout the second quarter, Vancouver received goals from Adam Charalambides, Ryan Martel, Keegan Bal and Brandon Goodwin, as the Warriors would eventually take a 5-4 advantage into the break.
Taking advantage of a transition opportunity, defenseman Gilles began another surge for Colorado and eventually flung the ball back to a trailing Tyson Gibson, who quickly fired a shot past Bold to tie the game at five early in the third quarter.
Less than a minute later, Vancouver’s Chase Scanlan answered back with a strike of his own to recapture the lead for the Warriors. Bal added his second of the night to make it two in a row for Vancouver.
Just over a minute later, former Mammoth forward Kyle Killen made it three-straight, which was quickly extended to four, and then five within the next 62 seconds, as Martel and Riley Loewen helped create a 10-5 contest halfway through the third quarter.
Three minutes later, Robinson came around another screen up top and buried his fourth of the night to eventually stop the bleeding for Colorado. Forward Zed Williams followed it up with a second-straight for the visiting squad after Vancouver turned the ball over, bringing the Mammoth back within three.
Another blow to Colorado’s ever0building momentum, Vancouver’s Owen Barker finished a quick transition effort with less than 10 seconds remaining in the third to grant the Warriors a 7-11 advantage as the final 15 approached.
Keeping it going for the home team, Charalambides logged another with a studder-step move, extending Vancouver’s lead to five just 90 seconds into the fourth quarter. Making it three in a row, Scanlan picked up another as the lead crept to six.
The defending NLL Champions wouldn’t go away without a fight though, as McLaughlin managed his second of the night midway through the fourth, paving way for a second-consecutive goal for Colorado less than a minute later, this time courtesy of scoring extraordinaire Zed Williams.
Calling change just a minute later, Williams converted again to bring his squad back within three. Continuing the streak, a rare tally from captain Robert Hope, who triple faked Bold before eventually beating him low, the Mammoth were suddenly right back in the game, now down only two.
Racking up his third goal in less than five minutes, Williams made it five-straight for Colorado with a diving effort en route to narrowing the lead to a lone goal with four minutes to play.
Finally stopping the run for Vancouver, Scanlan picked up his third of the night to complete his second half hat trick and restore his team’s lead to two with just over three minutes remaining. The Warriors would eventually finalize a 14-12 final as the team earned its fourth win of the season, while Colorado falls to 6-7 on the season.
Zed Williams (4g, 3a) and Ryan Lee (0g, 7a) paced Mammoth scorers with seven points each Saturday night, with Connor Robinson (4g, 2a) and Eli McLaughlin (2g, 1a) rounding out top offensive totals for Colorado. Goaltenders Dillon Ward (19-of 29) and Tyler Carlson (9-of-13) combined for 28 saves in the loss.
Riley Loewen (1g, 6a) and Keegan Bal (2g, 5a) each produced seven points for Vancouver, while Adam Charalambides (2g, 3a), Shawn Evans (1g, 3a), Chase Scanlan (3g, 0a), Brandon Goodwin (1g, 2a) and Ryan Martel (2g, 0a) providing quality depth scoring for the organization.
Colorado will next prepare to host the Las Vegas Desert Dogs, who are now suddenly in the NLL postseason hunt and 5-8 after picking up a win Saturday night against the Rochester Knighthawks, March 31 at Bal Arena for Grow the Game Night. Limited tickets to Friday’s matchup at the LOUD HOUSE remain available.