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Colorado Looks to Close Series Against Vancouver in Win Column Friday

COLORADO MAMMOTH (2-4) VS. VANCOUVER WARRIORS (2-4)
FRI. JAN. 26 | 8 P.M. MT | ROGERS ARENA
ALTITUDE TV 2 | ESPN+

DENVER – With 18 games in a complete National Lacrosse League (NLL) campaign, there’s plenty of time for teams to experience quite the roller coaster of results. From training camp beginning the first weekend of November to the NLL Finals spanning throughout early June, more than seven months of opportunities to improve and grind beside your brothers can have a variety of different outcomes.

Hell, 60 minutes of non-stop action within any given NLL showdown this season alone has shown fans around the league that quite literally anything is possible this season with the league’s new unified standings format.

For Colorado, which began the season with a 1-4 record, including an extremely dramatic 12-11 comeback win in overtime over the Vancouver Warriors (this weekend’s opponent, once again), the team has been tested from Week 1 on. Arguably facing off with the hottest team in the league last season during its first two contests of the 2023-24 campaign, the Mammoth had to endure a pair of contests against the now 4-3 contingent before getting onto the remainder of its quirky schedule.

Since picking up said electric come-from-behind victory over the Warriors inside the LOUD HOUSE last month, Colorado has gone head-to-head with three teams who each qualified for the NLL postseason last year, including the Buffalo Bandits (3-3), San Diego Seals (4-2) and most recently the Calgary Roughnecks (2-3). Stumbling a bit through its games against the Seals and defending NLL Champion Bandits, the Mammoth turned the tide last weekend courtesy of a huge 13-10 win over the Roughnecks at Ball Arena.

Seeing Dillon Ward return to All-World status while watching on as forwards Eli McLaughlin and Connor Kelly put on quite the show, the loudest fans in lacrosse watched on as the boys secured their second win of the season en route to improving to 2-4 overall and 2-2 at home. Potentially even more important than the team’s stars doing their thing, defensive stalwarts in Jordan Gilles, Joey Cupido and Tim Edwards each found the back of the net in transition fashion, an element previously missing from this year’s squad.

Now set to hit the road for four-consecutive contests, with stops in Vancouver (2-4), San Diego (4-2), Panther City (2-3) and Albany (6-1), the outlook on the team’s next month of play could easily be compared to that of a roller coaster, with two matchups against former West Conference rivals in Panther City and Vancouver looking like opportunities to climb the standings, while looming matchups against the Seals and FireWolves may be tougher tasks at a quick glance. That said, Colorado has enjoyed its fair share of success inside Pechanga Arena in sunny California the past few seasons. With Albany dropping their first bout of the season this past weekend to San Diego, looking like a completely different team in a 14-7 beatdown, anything is possible.

With the team’s next home game set to take place on Friday, Feb. 23 against the New York Riptide during the organization’s fan-favorite RUMBLE at the LOUD HOUSE, the Mammoth could return home with a variety of records, albeit with five of the team’s final eight games set to take place in beautiful Denver, Colorado.

Entering a Week 9 slate that will feature six different games, no teams have yet to secure a postseason berth just yet, but with the Toronto Rock (5-0) continuing to defend their flawless start to the season and Albany FireWolves (6-1) looking unstoppable, short of last weekend’s lopsided result, the playoff picture has begun to form. More importantly for Colorado and teams who haven’t gotten out to the starts they imagined, 11 of the league’s 15 teams still have three or fewer losses, meaning there’s plenty of time for the Mammoth and fellow squads to turn things around ahead of the eight-team postseason.

Representing the first of six Week 9 games and the league’s only game taking place on Friday night, the two familiar foes will faceoff for the second time in five weeks Jan. 26 during a showdown in which each organization hopes to capture en route to improving on their matching 2-4 records. After taking care of a “Must Win” last weekend inside Ball Arena, Colorado will now travel north to Rogers Arena six days later with its sights set on a second-straight win over the black, white and gold group.

Friday night’s battle against the Vancouver Warriors is set to begin at 8 p.m. MT inside Rogers Arena, thus marking Colorado’s third road game of the season. Fans can catch the team’s seventh showdown of the year on Altitude TV 2 and ESPN+ and can stay tuned to coloradomammoth.com and Colorado Mammoth social media channels for game highlights, postgame recap takeaways and beyond!

Last Time They Met

Playing the Warriors just one month ago, this one was all Vancouver early, as the away team ripped off five goals within the first four minutes and 58 seconds of play en route to chasing netminder Dillon Ward and forcing goaltender Tyler Carlson into the game. Luckily for Colorado, “Hot Carl” was ready for the challenge. Getting the good guys on the board midway through the opening period, Mammoth forward Zed Williams got his first of the night at the 9:03 mark before doubling down a minute later for his second. With defenseman Jordan Gilles and forward Connor Robinson chipping in goals as the quarter expired, Vancouver took a 7-4 advantage into the second. Eventually outscoring the Mammoth 4-1 in said period, with Tyson Gibson providing Colorado’s lone conversion, the Warriors enjoyed a blatant 11-5 lead heading into the break.

If the first half belonged to Vancouver, then the second half belonged to Carlson and the Mammoth. Allowing just six goals in the first half, TC stood on his head throughout the final 30 minutes of play, relinquishing zero goals for the remainder of the contest. Providing some motivation for his O-unit, Colorado went on to outscore the Warriors 6-0 in the second half, thus forcing an overtime session during the team’s most dramatic effort of the young season.

With Connor Robinson chipping in the game-winning tally just over four minutes into the extra session, the LOUD HOUSE exploded in an uproar as the Mammoth secured its first win of the season. Carlson stopped 27-of-33 on the evening, while Connor Robinson (4g, 3a), Zed Williams (2g, 4a), Eli McLaughlin (2g, 2a) and Tyson Gibson (2g, 1a) provided primary scoring efforts.

Leading the Way

Since being acquired from the Albany FireWolves in exchange for a first-round selection in the 2023 NLL Entry Draft, all forward Connor Kelly has been doing in his new jersey is scoring goals. From an insane preseason performance against the Toronto Rock during a training camp scrimmage to scoring in all five regular season games he’s appeared in this year, the league is taking note as yet another American-born player continues to adjust to the indoor game. Fueling his Mammoth to an impressive 13-10 win over the then 2-2 Roughnecks, the Easton, Connecticut, native notched a season-high four goals (4g, 0a) in a matchup where each and every tally was needed. Trailing Eli McLaughlin, who continues to lead the team with 29 points (13g, 16a), by 10 points overall, despite missing an early-season matchup on the Short Term Hold Out List, the sharpshooter remains tied with Liger heading into the team’s seventh matchup of the season and joins the following players in leading the charge so far, including:

Points: 29 (Eli McLaughlin)

Goals: 13 (Connor Kelly, Eli McLaughlin)

Assists: 16 (Eli McLaughlin)

Loose Balls: 46 (Tim Edwards, Robert Hope)

Caused Turnovers: 9 (Robert Hope)

Penalty Minutes: 25 (Jordan Gilles)

Blocked Shots: 10 (Robert Hope)

Faceoff Wins: 92 (Tim Edwards)

Consistency is Key

We know six goals is a sock trick, but after seeing the Magic Man Connor Robinson net six helpers during last week’s 13-10 win over Calgary, there’s no telling what the performer will pull off during his next act after recording the career-high feat. Typically known for pulling the rabbit out of the hat rather than serving as the party who disappears into thin air, last week’s showcase represented the third of six contests this season where he hasn’t found twine, yet the fifth of six in which the forward has recorded at least one assist as he continues to evolve his game away from the ball while dishing out some good looks. One of seven Mammoth contributors to record at least one point in each contest played, he joins the following players in continuing to appear on the scoresheet, including:

Eli McLaughlin: (2g, 3a), (1g, 2a), (2g, 2a), (3g, 2a), (3g, 3a), (2g, 4a) = 29 points (13g, 16a)

Connor Robinson: (0g, 2a), (3g, 0a), (4g, 3a), (0g, 1a), (2g, 3a), (0g, 6a) = 24 points (9g, 15a)

Connor Kelly: (3g, 2a), (2g, 1a), (3g, 1a), (1g, 2a), (4g, 0a) = 19 points (13g, 6a)

Tyson Gibson: (1g, 4a), (1g, 2a), (2g, 1a), (0g, 2a), (0g, 2a), (1g, 0a) = 16 points (5g, 11a)

Zed Williams: (0g, 1a), (2g, 4a), (1g, 1a), (1g, 2a), (1g, 1a) = 14 points (5g, 9a)

Robert Hope: (0g, 1a), (0g, 1a), (0g, 1a), (0g, 2a), (0g, 1a), (0g, 1a) = 7 points (0g, 7a)

Evan Downey: (0g, 1a) = 1 point (0g, 1a)

Looking in the Mirror

Staring back at a matching 2-4 record, the Vancouver Warriors, just like Colorado, picked up their second win of the season just last weekend. Defeating the Saskatchewan Rush (1-4) during a tight 11-9 final, Vancouver has now defeated Saskatchewan and the Georgia Swarm (4-3) the very team which opened Colorado’s season by handing them a pair of losses. Yet, Colorado defeated Vancouver in stunning comeback fashion the last two times the formal conference rivals met, so it’s truly just another crazy week in the NLL as these two teams fight to see who receives the honor of advancing to 3-4. The other, relegated to 2-5, will continue to lurk in the basement of the standings, exactly where both squads currently sit heading into this dire matchup.

Adam Charalambides continues to pace the team in overall goal scoring with 29 points (15g, 14a) after notching a game-high seven (4g, 3a) points during his team’s win last week. With Keegan Bal chipping in five points (3g, 2a) in the victory over the Rush, he now trails Charalambides by four with 25 points (8g, 17a), which includes a squad-best 17 helpers. Bal is happy to do the heavy lifting and crease-crashing efforts when needed, but as a shifty and space-creating machine, he’s one of the league’s most efficient dishers in forcing his opponent to honor his shiftiness and breakaway speed. Forward Kevin Crowley is up to 22 points (13g, 9a) on the season, while Ryan Martel (9g, 12a) and Riley Loewen (4g, 12a) round out the team’s double-digit scorers thus far.

In net, veteran Aaron Bold will look to improve on his 2-3 record, however brings a respectable 10.64 goals-against average into the contest. While he hasn’t been perfect in net, he hasn’t been the problem for the Warriors this season. With just a -4 goal differential through six matchups (62 goals for, 66 goals against), this is a competitive team that is expected to give Colorado its all, especially after Head Coach Curt Malawsky and company allowed the Mammoth to crawl back from a six-goal deficit just five weekends ago!

Get in the Game

Mammoth games can be viewed on Altitude TV and streamed live via ESPN+. Friday’s Jan. 26 matchup against the Vancouver Warriors can be viewed on Altitude TV 2 and streamed live 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 2023-24 NLL season.

Limited tickets for Colorado’s RUMBLE at the LOUD HOUSE matchup against the New York Riptide Feb. 23 at Ball Arena remain available!

Colorado Mammoth Pro Lacrosse Team