As the National Lacrosse League prepares to begin its 2022 Chase for the Championship, eight of its 14 teams are set to compete in postseason competition this upcoming weekend. Ending the season with a 10-8 record, identical to the West’s first and second seeds (San Diego, Calgary), Colorado is set to head back to Calgary this weekend as the three seed. Despite finishing with the same records as Calgary and San Diego, the Mammoth dropped series advantages to both squads throughout the season, as Colorado was only able to capture one-of-three regular season matchups against either organization.
With five of the eight organizations hailing from the East Conference, the Colorado Mammoth join its Quarterfinals opponent in the Calgary Roughnecks and San Diego Seals as the West’s three teams to have qualified for this year’s NLL Playoffs. With Philadelphia occupying the Wild Card spot, positioned as the West’s fourth seed, and two of the West’s three teams facing off in the single-game elimination format Friday evening, it’s possible that three of the Conference Final qualifiers will stem from the East Conference.
Colorado again is in control of its own postseason destiny when the organization heads north to Calgary, as the Mammoth has a chance to be the highest-ranked seed in the West, should it be victorious over Calgary and see the Philadelphia Wings defeat the San Diego Seals. Should this be the scenario, the Mammoth would be set to hose the Wings at Ball Arena next weekend before heading east for the series’ second matchup. If San Diego were to defeat the Wings, the Mammoth would travel head west to face another West Conference rival in the San Diego Seals next weekend before ultimately hosting its first postseason contest at Ball Arena the weekend of May 20-22. For a complete, updated listing of playoff scenarios, Mammoth postseason information and beyond, be sure to check out our 2022 Colorado Mammoth Playoff Hub.
Friday’s matchup at Scotiabank Saddledome represents the first postseason matchup for either team, but the fourth meeting between the teams during the 2021-22 campaign and third to be hosted in Calgary. Mammoth fans will be able to watch this weekend’s matchup on Altitude TV, and stream live on ESPN+!
Colorado dropped its Week 22 season finale last weekend in Calgary, as the Roughnecks were able to capture the key 14-11 victory. The win propelled Calgary to the West’s two seed and confirmed the squad would host the conference’s three seed, which comes in the form of your Colorado Mammoth. Familiar foes in the regular season and postseason alike, the two squads finished the 2021-22 campaign against each other with a close contest, ultimately setting up an instant rematch for the Quarterfinal round.
The conference matchup began with a pair of power-play goals, the first coming from Curtis Dickson less than a minute into the contest before Mammoth forward Zed Williams tied the game at the 3:03 mark. Teammate Eli McLaughlin was able to earn Colorado its first lead of the night less than a minute later, but rookie forward Tyler Pace evened the contest again during his team’s next possession. Chris Wardle and Dickson each recorded late first-quarter markers to send the tight matchup into the second quarter.
It was there that Dickson reminded the packed Rough House audience of his “Superman” nickname, as the forward went on to rack up the period’s first four goals at the 7:22, 8:14, 9:51 (PPG) and 12:02 marks while catapulting the Roughnecks to a 7-3 lead. Pace eventually recorded his second of the night with less than two minutes to play in the half, while Jesse King got himself on the board with a minute remaining, bringing a 9-3 contest to the break.
Despite drawing a few minutes into the third quarter, Zach Herreweyers was able to log a shorthanded bid to extend Calgary’ lead to seven. Never afraid of a comeback attempt, the Mammoth were able to capture the next two, as Connor Robinson (PPG) and McLaughlin converted at the 3:51 and 8:48 marks to bring Colorado back within five. Haiden Dickson answered back with a power-play goal a minute after McLaughlin’s tally, while his teammate Tyler Pace completed his hat-trick effort with an extra-man strike of his own with three minutes left in the third.
Entering the fourth quarter trailing by seven and with its odds of hosting a playoff game on the line, the Mammoth were able to record four-consecutive goals in the first three minutes of fourth-period action, as Ryan Lee, Joey Cupido, Eli McLaughlin and Zed Williams attempted to turn the tide in Colorado’s favor as the squad battled back. With McLaughlin recording his fourth of the night at the 10:31 mark and Wardle logging an insane dunk goal with less than two minute to play, Colorado was suddenly down one. But the squad was met with a pair of empty-net goals in the contest’s final minute, solidifying a 14-11 loss and three seed in the West for the Mammoth.
Eli McLaughlin paced Mammoth offensive efforts with six points (4g, 2a), while Ryan Lee (1g, 5a), Chris Wardle (2g, 2a), Zed Williams (2g, 1a) and Connor Robinson (1g, 2a) rounded out complementary scoring on the evening. Mammoth goaltender Dillon Ward stopped 30-of-42 on the evening, while Christian Del Bianco managed to save 36-of-47 on the night.
Showing up to Work:
Leading the Mammoth organization this season in points (119) and assists (85), forward Ryan Lee ended the campaign as one of five players to average six-plus points per game this season and just one of five players to score 100-plus points. The fourth-year also surpassed John Grant Jr.’s single-season record of 116 points while also setting the franchise’s new assist record at 85. Ending the season ranked second among NLL players with points and assists, Lee’s 6.61 points-per-game rank third-best in the NLL and second-best among players who logged 17+ regular season contests, as the RIT product continues to perform alongside elite NLL scoring talent, including:
Dhane Smith: 7.50 PPG (135 in 18 GP)
Jeff Teat: 6.75 PPG (108 in 16 GP)
Ryan Lee: 6.61 PPG (119 in 18 GP)
Joe Resetarits: 6.17 PPG (111 in 18 GP)
Lyle Thompson: 6.06 PPG (102 in 17 GP)
Since recording six points each, respectively, during last weekend’s season finale in Calgary, both Ryan Lee (1g, 5a) and Eli McLaughlin (4g, 2a) showcased their ability to consistently impact Colorado offensive approach this year. With both players having surpassed their previous career-best point and goal totals this season and continuing to show their abilities to not only finish but ensure their teammates are involved, the Mammoth will now lean on the duo as the squad approaches its first postseason contest since the 2018-19 season. Constantly involved in the turf and in the scoresheet alike, Lee and McLaughlin represent the team’s only two players to have recorded at least one point in each game played this season:
Ryan Lee (5g, 3a), (1g, 1a), (2g, 3a), (2g, 10a), (4g, 3a), (0g, 9a), (2g, 2a), (5g, 2a), (2g, 4a), (3g, 2a), (1g, 12a), (1g, 2a), (0g, 3a), (1g, 7a), (1g, 5a), (2g, 5a), (1g, 7a), (1g, 5a) = (34g, 85a)
Eli McLaughlin (3g, 3a), (1g, 2a), (1g, 3a), (3g, 4a), (1g, 3a), (2g, 1a), (3g, 0a), (1g, 4a), (2g, 2a), (3g, 4a), (5g, 6a), (0g, 2a), (0g, 2a), (1g, 3a), (4g, 1a), (1g, 2a), (3g, 1a), (4g, 2a) = (38g, 45a)
Regardless of finishing its season in the losing column, several Mammoth individuals amassed personal and team-bests in several offensive and defensive categories this season, including:
Goals: 42 (T6th) Connor Robinson
Assists: 85 (2nd) Ryan Lee
Points: 119 (2nd) Ryan Lee
Points-Per-Game: 6.61 (3rd) Ryan Lee
Shots on Goal: 178 (5th) Ryan Lee
Caused Turnovers: 27 (T8th) Robert Hope
Shorthanded Goals: 3 (T2nd) Connor Robinson
Shorthanded Assists: 3 (T1st) Chris Wardle
Game-Winning Goals: 4 (2nd) Eli McLaughlin
Save Percentage: .804 (2nd) Dillon Ward
Saves: 688 (T2nd) Dillon Ward
Goaltender Points: 11 (2nd) Dillon Ward
*All rankings updated through the NLL Regular Season
Get in the Game
Colorado’s road game in Calgary this weekend can be viewed on Altitude TV and streamed live via ESPN+. Mammoth fans can keep an eye on the team’s social channels for upcoming updates on 2021-22 Playoff announcements, 2022-23 ticket renewals and more! Tickets for Colorado’s potential West Conference playoff games are on sale now!