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Colorado Heads North, Seeks Series Advantage Against Calgary Friday

With the organization’s first 5-1 start since John Grant Jr. was named the National Lacrosse League’s Most Valuable Player in 2012, the Colorado Mammoth has begun the 2021-22 campaign with a team effort on both ends of the floor. Entering this weekend, the Mammoth sit atop the Western Conference tied with the San Diego Seals through 11 weeks of NLL play. Since falling to the Seals Dec. 11, Colorado has picked up four-consecutive victories, all of which coming against conference opponents in Panther City, Vancouver (x2) and most recently, Calgary.

The Roughnecks, who head into the weekend with a 1-4 record, dropped its first two home contests earlier this season and looks to reset its approach before hosting Colorado at the Scotiabank Saddledome Friday evening. Since picking up a victory Week 2 in Saskatchewan, the squad has dropped three in a row, with its most recent defeat stemming from when the two teams produced a fiery matchup last weekend at Ball Arena.

As the Mammoth captured the 14-10 contest Feb. 5, the team will look to cement its series advantage against Calgary Friday by stealing one on the road and keeping pace with a hot San Diego team, which plays in Fort Worth this weekend.

While Colorado’s offense has endured several stretches without goals throughout the young season, the offense has eventually heated up in five-of-six for the team, including last weekend during the team’s third comeback effort of the year.

On Calgary’s end, the squad has lived and failed with momentum this season, having logged some impressive streaks of goal-scoring and quality defensive play, then eventually being plagued with untimely penalties and inconsistent performances at either end of the turf. While the Roughnecks’ largest lead last weekend was only three, the team allowed San Diego to capture a win in Week 9 after leading 6-2 early in the contest.

Mammoth fans will be able to stream Friday’s road matchup, and all Mammoth games this season, on ESPN+! This weekend’s matchup will also air locally on Altitude 2.

Looking Back:

Colorado secured its fourth win in a row last weekend by defeating the Calgary Roughnecks on Lacrosse Out Cancer Night at Ball Arena.

After logging nearly 16 minutes of scoreless play and allowing Calgary to outscore the team 8-2 in a stretch of second and third quarter action, the Mammoth went on to log the contest’s final seven goals en route to defeating the Roughnecks. The streaky, 14-10 contest featured a Mammoth comeback effort fueled by a Connor Robinson sock trick effort (6g, 1a) and another stellar performance from goaltender Dillon Ward, who stopped 42-of-52 on the night.

Mammoth forward Ryan Lee led the team with nine points (0g, 9a) in Saturday’s win, while Eli McLaughlin (2g, 1a), Dylan Kinnear (2g, 1a), Chris Wardle (1g, 1a) and Zed Williams (1g, 1a) led the scoring charge. Veteran defensemen Joey Cupido and Josh Sullivan each recorded transition tallies as the team picked up its second straight on home turf.

Ryan Lee & The Consisten-Zs:

In six contests with the Mammoth this season, forward Ryan Lee ranks among league-leaders in numerous categories, proving to be a consistent threat with the ball and distributing to his teammates. The RIT product’s 7.16 points-per-game currently qualifies as the highest average in the NLL this season, surpassing NLL stars:

Ryan Lee: 7.16 PPG (43 in 6 GP)

Dhane Smith: 7.0 PPG (42 in GP)

Jeff Teat: 6.8 PPG (34 in 5 GP)

Callum Crawford: 6.43 PPG (45 in 7 GP)

Lyle Thompson: 6.0 PPG (48 in 8 GP)

Logging a combined 28 points (6g, 22a) in his last three outings quarterbacking Colorado’s offensive unit, things are clicking right now for the third-year front man. His nine assists (0g, 9a) last week represent the second-highest total recorded this season (Lee had 10 Jan. 7), qualifying the forward as one of five Mammoth players to record at least one point in each game played this season, including:

Ryan Lee (5g, 3a), (1g, 1a), (2g, 3a), (2g, 10a), (4g, 3a), (0g, 9a) = (14g, 29a)

Eli McLaughlin (3g, 3a), (1g, 2a), (1g, 3a), (3g, 4a), (1g, 3a), (2g, 1a) = (11g, 16a)

Chris Wardle (1g, 4a), (0g, 1a), (0g, 2a), (2g, 4a), (1g, 3a), (1g, 1a) = (5g, 15a)

Zed Williams (2g, 1a) (0g, 2a), (1g, 1a), (1g, 1a), (1g, 1a) = (5g, 6a)

Sam LeClair (3g, 0a), (3g, 1a), (0g, 1a) = (6g, 1a)

Mammoth League-Leaders:

Colorado enters Week 11 of NLL play having recorded 72 penalty minutes in six contests, the third-least among NLL teams this season, averaging 12 per game (4th lowest). As a benefactor of a strong man-down unit and limiting penalties taken this season, including just three two-minute minors last weekend, Colorado continues to defend its league-best penalty-killing rate after successfully negating 20-of-25 man-down scenarios. Complementary of the team’s early success defensively, the Mammoth roster features several individuals who rank among league-leaders in multiple categories, including:

Goals: 16 (T6th) Connor Robinson

Goals: 14 (T11th) Ryan Lee

Assists: 29 (T2nd) Ryan Lee

Points: 43 (4th) Ryan Lee

Points-Per-Game: 7.16 (1st) Ryan Lee

Loose Balls: 60 (T7th) Robert Hope

Shorthanded Goals: 2 (T2nd) Connor Robinson

Shorthanded Assists: 2 (T1st) Robert Hope, Chris Wardle

Game-Winning Goals: 3 (1st) Eli McLaughlin

Faceoff Wins: 67 (7th) Tim Edwards

Goaltender Points: 4 (1st) Dillon Ward

*All rankings updated through Week 10 of NLL play

Calgary Roughnecks Calgary Roughnecks:

Since capturing its lone victory of the year during an 11-10 road victory against the Saskatchewan Rush, Calgary has dropped three in a row, as the Roughnecks currently sit fifth in the Western Conference and 12th overall Heading into Week 11.

Starting its campaign with four of five contests on the road, a large part of the team’s worries this season involve a lack of consistency on both ends of the floor, allowing teams to go on streaks of scoring and failing to record goals of their own for longer than average.

Through its first five matchups this season, Calgary has been outscored 52-70, yet the Roughnecks’ power-play unit continues to rank third-best in the NLL through Week 10, having converted on 12-of-26 opportunities (46.2%). Despite toting the league’s most efficient PK unit in the NLL, Colorado hopes to stay out of the box after only committing three minor infractions last weekend.

That power-play group, and the team’s overall goal-scoring effort this season, is headlined by veteran forward Curtis Dickson, who was a last minute scratch during last weekend’s matchup at Ball Arena. Forward Jesse King leads the team in points (28) and assists (22) while also ranking second in the team’s loose ball charge with 37.

Dan Taylor (4g, 11a in 4 GP), Haiden Dickson (6g, 6a in 5 GP), Zach Herreweyers (5g, 6a in 4 GP) and Tanner Cook (3g, 7a in 5 GP) round out primary scoring efforts for the Roughnecks so far this year.

Zach Currier paces Calgary with 67 loose balls, nine caused turnovers and 42 faceoff wins, though the transition player has split time in the circle this season with defensemen Reece Callies (10-for-21) and Tyler Burton (24-for-51). Christian Del Bianco has gotten off to a slow start with Calgary this year as the result of inconsistent play from the rest of the squad. Del Bianco brings a 14.02 goals-against average and .715 save percentage into Friday’s matchup, having made 176 saves in five appearances.

Get in the Game

Tickets to Colorado’s Feb. 20 Essential Workers Night contest against the Saskatchewan Rush, and all Mammoth home games, can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com. Mammoth road games can be viewed on Altitude TV and streamed live via ESPN+.

Colorado Mammoth Pro Lacrosse Team