COLORADO MAMMOTH (4-3) VS. CALGARY ROUGHNECKS (4-3)
SAT FEB 11 | SOCIANANK SADDLEDOME
7 P.M. MT FACEOFF
ALT TV | ESPN+
In the most chaotic weekend of the 2022-23 NLL season to date, Colorado exited its only doubleheader affair with a 4-3 overall record after picking up a win over the Georgia Swarm on Friday, Feb. 3 before dropping its second matchup to the Las Vegas Desert Dogs. Now, sitting tied for third place with Calgary in the West Conference, with both Saskatchewan and Panther City also having acquired four wins at this point in the season, Saturday’s showdown at the Saddledome could have huge implications for the 2023 NLL Playoffs.
With Colorado securing the first of three regular season matchups between the rivals at Ball Arena, a dramatic 9-8 win, the Mammoth have the opportunity to capture the regular season series against the Roughnecks Saturday, something they haven’t managed in a long time. The meeting between familiar foes represents the second of three regular season games and the only to be hosted in Calgary, following a season in which Colorado visited the Saddledome three times last year.
Despite losing Curtis Dickson and Dane Dobbie to the San Diego Seals in the past two seasons, the Roughnecks have figured out how to perform as a unit, while continuing to rely on goaltender Christian Del Bianco to provide quality netminding for the fellow 4-3 club. Always looking for an opportunity to score in transition, Calgary will be entering the weekend on a high note after picking up a 12-11 overtime win over one of the East Conference’s top squads in the Halifax Thunderbirds. Tyler Pace and Jesse King have stepped up on the offensive end, with the duo having contributed nearly 50% of the squad’s scoring efforts
Through the Mammoth’s first seven contests, forward Eli McLaughlin continues to pace Mammoth scorers with 32 points (14g, 18a), while rising superstar Connor Robinson leads the goal-scoring charge with 17 of his 29 points (17g, 12a), which rank second-best on the squad so far. Veteran free agent signee Rhy Duch has chipped in 28 points (7g, 21a) of his own in one less game after signing with the Mammoth following its Week 1 loss. Zed Williams continues to enforce and oversee the body-banging efforts down low amidst his 20 points 12g, 8a), while fellow Good Victoria Boy Chris Wardle rounds out the team’s top five scorers with 17 points (4g, 13a) in five games after beginning the season on the Physically Unable to Perform List. Faceoff specialist Tim Edwards has secured 90-of-167 draw opportunities (53.9%) and has secured 55 loose balls in seven games, but it’s captain Robert Hope’s 59 which lead the team overall as the defenseman looks to hit the 1,000 career loose ball mark later this season after surpassing the 900 mark last weekend in Denver.
After seeing Joey Cupido get injured late in the first half of Friday’s matchup with Georgia, Lightning joins Ryan Lee and John Lintz on the Injured Reserve List as the team continues to strive for a healthy roster top to bottom. Courtesy of the transaction, defenseman Brett Draper was moved to the Active Roster Saturday morning prior to the team’s matchup in Las Vegas, but has yet to make his debut with the Mammoth after signing as a free agent this summer.
Mammoth fans can stay tuned to the team’s social media channels and NLL.com’s transaction page for the team’s latest transactions, news and beyond heading into Saturday’s matchup against the Calgary Roughnecks!
Saturday’s contest at Scotiabank Saddledome is slated to begin at 7 p.m. MT and can be viewed locally on Altitude TV and nationally via ESPN+.
Surviving the Schedule
Continuing to navigate the league’s often-puzzling schedule, Colorado was forced to endure two games within 28 hours last week after seeing three bye weeks and a holiday pause before the season made its way into February. Excuses aside, the Mammoth were able to split the pair of decisions, as Colorado was able to successfully close its season-long, four-game homestand inside the Loud House with a 13-10 win over the Georgia Swarm as the team hosted its Lacrosse Out Cancer Night at Ball Arena Friday before dropping its second game of the weekend, 13-8, to the team’s newest expansion club.
Despite bringing an 0-4 record in the matchup, the Swarm gave Colorado all they had, battling the 2022 NLL Champions throughout all four quarters of play. The Mammoth were able to enjoy a successful start, outscoring Georgia 4-1 through the first 17 minutes of the contest, but by the time the halftime break came around, the Swarm had closed the goal differential significantly, as Colorado lead 7-5 during the intermission. Eventually seeing a four-goal streak from Georgia give the Swarm the lead throughout the second and third quarters, the East Conference squad would hold its last lead with an 8-9 advantage before the Loud House got rocking again. Fueling Ball Arena with confidence amidst scoring back-to-back goals, Connor Robinson made the Ke$ha fans happy en route to recapturing the lead for Colorado. Eventually outscoring Georgia 5-2 in the final 15, with contributions from McLaughlin, Williams and Duch, the Mammoth secured the 13-10 win with its sights set on Sin City.
RELATED: Mammoth Closes Homestand, Opens Back-to-Back with Win over Swarm
As the old saying goes, though, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, as the Mammoth dropped its second game of the weekend to the league’s newest franchise, 13-8. On a night which saw former DU product Jack Hannah explode for eight points (6g, 2a), including the youngster’s first career sock trick, Colorado wasn’t able to match the black and white contingency’s scoring efforts.
Las Vegas established an early lead on the unrested Mammoth, but Colorado would even the score at 2-2 as the second quarter began. But it would be mostly Desert Dogs action for the remaining three quarters, as Las Vegas went on to outscore Colorado 11-6 the rest of the way. Seeing a pair of veterans in Zack Greer (2g, 4a) and Rob Hellyer (2g, 3a) step up for the new team, the Desert Dogs captured their second-consecutive home victory via the win.
RELATED: Colorado Struggles, Drops Saturday Matchup to Desert Dogs
Throughout the two-game slate, Connor Robinson led Mammoth scorers with a combined 12 points (5g, 7a), while Rhys Duch (3g, 8a) and Chris Wardle (3g, 8a) each racked up 11 points.
Consistency is Key
Having produced 32 points (14g, 18a) in his first seven appearances of the season, Eli McLaughlin continues to serve as the middle ground for Colorado’s up-and-down offense. Averaging 4.6 points per-game, along with 2 goals per-game, McLaughlin’s 32 points pace overall scoring for the Mammoth, while his 14 goals rank second to Robinson’s team-best 17 markers. Showing up on the scoresheet in all seven matchups thus far, the veteran continues to perform each game, having logged at least three points in each contest. Most recently delivering three points (2g, 1a) last weekend against Las Vegas, prior to the six points (2g, 4a) he logged the night before against Georgia, Colorado will need 51 to rally the troops alongside the following players, who have each contributed at least one point in each of the contests they’ve participated in, including:
Eli McLaughlin (0g, 5a), (4g, 3a), (2g, 1a), (1g, 3a) (3g, 1a), (2g, 4a), (2g, 1a) = 32 points (12g, 17a)
Connor Robinson (1g, 0a), (0g, 1a), (5g, 1a), (4g, 1a), (2g, 2a), (4g, 3a), (1g, 4a) = 29 points (17g, 12a)
Rhys Duch (2g, 1a), (1g, 4a), (1g, 6a), (0g, 2a), (2g, 5a), (1g, 3a) = 28 points (7g, 21a)
Zed Williams (2g, 0a), (3g, 5a), (3g, 0a), (1g, 0a), (1g, 2a), (2g, 1a) = 20 points (12g, 8a)
Brett McIntyre (1g, 1a), (1g, 1a), (0g, 1a), (1g, 4a), (1g, 1a), (1g, 0a) = 13 points (5g, 8a)
Ty Thompson (2g, 0a) = 2 points (2g, 0a)
After beginning the season 2-0 with a pair of home and away victories against the now 1-7 Vancouver Warriors, the Roughnecks went on to drop its next two contests being paired against quality opponents in the San Diego Seals and then Colorado Mammoth. Since evening out at 2-2, Calgary has won two of its last three, handing the Seals their first lost of the season and dropping a matchup to the Toronto Rock since most recently defeating the Halifax Thunderbirds in overtime last weekend. But, before getting a chance to even the regular season series against Colorado Saturday night, Calgary will first host the Saskatchewan Rush Friday for an extremely rare home-and-home doubleheader.
Tyler Pace’s 36 points (9g, 27a) currently pace the Roughnecks in scoring, as the forward has teamed up with Jesse King (15g, 20a) to lead Calgary’s offensive unit. King’s 15 tallies mark the best on the team so far, while Pace’s 27 helpers lead the squad as well. While seemingly every player within the organization has scored a goal this year, short goaltending sensation Christian Del Bianco, who’s chipped in a league goalie-best 12 assists, no other play has reached the 20-point mark this year besides Pace and King.
Calgary will need to rest up quickly following its scuffle with Saskatchewan in order to fend off the hungry Colorado Mammoth, who will be looking to rebound from last weekend’s sour ending to the weekend in Sin City.
Get in the Game
Mammoth road games can be viewed on Altitude TV and streamed live via ESPN+. Saturday’s game against Calgary can be viewed locally on Altitude TV and nationally on ESPN+. Mammoth fans can keep an eye on the team’s social media channels and coloradomammoth.com for the latest news, transactions and organizational updates throughout the 2022-23 NLL season.
RELATED: Altitude Announces 2022-23 Colorado Mammoth Broadcast Schedule
Limited tickets for Colorado’s Feb. 24 Military Appreciation Night matchup against Panther City Lacrosse Club are available for purchase.