After dropping its third-consecutive match last weekend during a 9-7 decision in Saskatchewan, Colorado will look to re-focus as the Mammoth prepare to host the San Diego Seals for a West Division showdown at Pepsi Center Feb. 15 as the first match of a four-game homestand.
The contest between the divisional opponents represents the second of two regular season meetings between Colorado and San Diego during a Week 12 slate of games that features 11 of the NLL’s 13 teams. Fans can watch Saturday’s matchup against San Diego locally on Altitude, as well as Bleacher Report Live.
Last Time They Met
Colorado dropped a 17-10 decision to San Diego two weeks ago as the Seals hosted the Mammoth at Orleans Arena during the first professional lacrosse game in Las Vegas Feb. 1.
Despite establishing an early 3-1 lead in the first quarter, San Diego found its stride in the remaining three quarters, outscoring the Mammoth 16-7 the rest of the way.
Casey Jackson led the Seals in scoring with eight points (5g, 3a) as former Mammoth forwards Jeremy Noble posted seven points (1g, 6a), while Zach Greer notched five (3g, 2a) in the affair. Wes Berg (2g, 4a) and Connor Fields (1g, 5a) rounded out the scoring for San Diego.
In his first game back from injury, Austin Staats logged four points (1g, 3a), while back-up goaltender Nick Damude stopped 32-of-42 for his second win of the season.
Eli McLaughlin paced Colorado in the matchup with his second hat trick of the season among five points (3g, 2a), while Ryan Lee chipped in four points (1g, 3a). Rookie Dylan Kinnear logged two goals in the contest as Chris Wardle added three points (1g, 2a) in a physical contest that featured a combined 38 penalty minutes.
Early and Often
Following last weekend’s matchup in Saskatchewan, the Mammoth have played seven of its first 10 games away from Pepsi Center.
After hosting the Saskatchewan Rush Nov. 29 as the league’s season-opening game, Colorado spent five weeks away from Pepsi Center, logging its next game Dec. 21 in Calgary and traveling to Georgia Dec. 28 before returning home for a Jan. 4 victory over Vancouver at the Loud House. Following a road-and-road series against Vancouver and Saskatchewan, Colorado returned to Pepsi Center to face Buffalo before taking place in the first professional lacrosse game to take place in Sin City Feb. 1.
Despite dropping a 9-7 decision to the Rush last weekend, Colorado will close out the season hosting six-of-eight remaining games, providing several opportunities for Mammoth fans to get the Loud House rocking during the stretch run as the team makes a push for playoffs.
The Mammoth head into Saturday’s contest as the only team to have completed 10 games through the league’s first 11 weeks of action and will enjoy a bye week after hosting San Diego Saturday. As for the Seals, San Diego has logged eight games this season and will come off two weeks of rest after posting its 17-10 victory over the Mammoth during the team’s last game.
Hit Me with Your WEST Shot:
Heading into Saturday’s contest against San Diego, the Mammoth have competed against West Division opponents in seven of its first 10 matchups and will face the Seals this weekend, representing Colorado’s eighth divisional duel in the team’s first 11 games. Through 11 weeks of play, Colorado’s 10 total games and seven divisional contests lead the league in matches played within the division and overall.
Colorado continues to lead the West’s goals-for count (97) and loose balls total (678) through 10 matches, as the Mammoth have averaged just under 10 goals-per-game and roughly 68 loose balls-per-contest. Despite facing a variety of teams and offensive threats to start the season, Colorado has limited teams to an average of 10 goals-per-game, which ranks second in the West and fifth overall despite playing one to four more games.
As the league’s lone division with five teams, Colorado has been afforded several early looks at its divisional opponents but has only captured three of the seven matches so far. Comparatively, San Diego has posted a 2-2 record against West Division opponents this season, while the Seals have logged a 1-3 record in cross-divisional meetings with the Buffalo Bandits, Toronto Rock, Halifax Thunderbirds and New York Riptide.
The West continues to be the league’s most competitive division through 11 weeks of league play, as the Saskatchewan Rush hold a one-and-a-half game advantage over the Vancouver Warriors and Calgary Roughnecks, while the Mammoth and San Diego Seals remain merely two games back of first place.
Shoot for the Stars
San Diego began its season with three-consecutive losses to the Buffalo Bandits, Toronto Rock and Calgary Roughnecks before picking up its first victory of the campaign with an overtime win over the Vancouver Warriors Dec. 29 at Rogers Arena.
Despite limiting the 6-0 Thunderbirds to eight goals Jan. 18, the Seals dropped decisions against Saskatchewan (12-9) and Halifax (8-5) before picking up a 15-11 win against the New York Riptide Jan. 25 and logging its third victory of the season Feb. 1 with a 17-10 victory over the Mammoth.
The Seals roster five forwards who have consistently led the charge for San Diego through the team’s first eight games, including: Wesley Berg (14g, 24a), Connor Fields (13g, 18a), Kyle Buchanan (6g, 17a) and former Colorado Mammoth players Zack Greer (15g, 20a) and Jeremy Noble (8g, 20a).
Berg paces San Diego scorers in points, assists, power-play goals (9), shots (114) and shots on goal (83) and continues to rank among league-leaders in points (T10th), assists (T11th), power-play goals (1st), shots (T7th) and shots on goal (5th). Greer’s 15 goals rank first with the Seals.
San Diego also rosters a pair of offensive-minded defensemen in Brodie Merrill (2g, 9a) and former Mammoth defenseman Cam Holding (3g, 3a). Merrill’s 11 points rank third in scoring among the league’s defenseman, while his nine assists are good for first and 66 loose balls rank fourth among back-enders.
With Frank Scigliano limited the past three weeks due to injury, Nick Damude has stepped up and filled the netminder role for the Seals. In three starts for San Diego, the goaltender has posted a 2-1 record and 105 saves with a 9.60 goals-against average and .778 save percentage in four games played. Damude rose to the challenge in the team’s last match against Colorado, allowing only 10 goals on 42 shots to earn his second victory of the campaign.
Coming off its season-high 17-goal outing against the Mammoth two weekends ago, San Diego will look to record a large amount of shots after averaging 76.5 per-game so far. With eight players having logged three-plus point performances in the team’s last match Feb. 1, expect the Seals to apply pressure on the offensive end of the floor while leaning on its goaltending as San Diego travels to the Loud House to face Dillon Ward and the Colorado Mammoth Feb. 15.
“4” the Record
As the Mammoth return to Pepsi Center for its fourth home game of the season, the Mammoth will look to avoid its fourth-consecutive loss and have an interesting amount of individual and team statistics involving the number four through the team’s first 10 matches, including:
4th home game of the season (Feb. 15)
4 wins on the season
4 divisional losses/4 road losses
4th average attendance (11,427)
4–4 record when outshot by opponents
4th-best shots-on-goal percentage in NLL (.728)
Ryan Lee is averaging 4.3 points per-game and has logged 4 power-play goals
Lee has logged three-plus performances in his last 4 games
Dylan Kinnear is riding a 4-game point streak
The Mammoth roster six players with 4 penalty minutes while three have logged 4 CTOs
McLaughlin has logged a hat trick in three of his last 4 appearances
Dillon Ward has a chance to make his 4,000th save this weekend against San Diego
Beginning with the Seals Feb. 15, the Mammoth will also host opponents for four-straight home games, including matches with the Philadelphia Wings Feb. 29, the Rochester Knighthawks March 8, the Calgary Roughnecks March 20 and the New England Black Wolves April 4.
Colorado continues to distribute the offensive load among its deep roster of talented forwards and transition players this season, while relying on its sound defensive effort and efficient power-play unit.
Following his fourth-consecutive three-plus-point performance (1g, 2a) last weekend against Saskatchewan, Ryan Lee (17g, 26a) continues to pace the Mammoth in point and goal totals through Colorado’s first 10 contests. After leading the Mammoth in scoring last weekend with five points (3g, 2a) Eli McLaughlin (13g, 27a) leads Colorado in assists and has averaged five points per-game in his eight games played, while Chris Wardle (14g, 23a) continues to provide consistent scoring for the Mammoth.
Jacob Ruest (15g, 11a) and Kyle Killen (6g, 14a) have solidified depth scoring for the Mammoth, as Joey Cupido’s 16 points (7g, 9a) rank second in the league among transition players after Lightning logged another breakaway goal last weekend against the Rush.
After recording a team-season-high 16 loose balls last weekend in Saskatchewan, Veteran Defenseman Robert Hope continues to lead Colorado with 87 loose balls and joins the noted Mammoth players among the NLL’s leaders in several categories:
Goals: Ryan Lee, 17 (T5th)
Assists: Eli McLaughlin, 27 (6th)
Points: Ryan Lee, 43 (5th)
Power-Play Goals: Jacob Ruest, 5 (T3rd)
Power-Play Assists: Ryan Lee/Eli McLaughlin, 8 (T6th)
Short-Handed Goals: Joey Cupido, 3 (T1st)
Loose Balls: Robert Hope, 87 (2nd)
Saves: Dillon Ward, 424 (1st)
Save Percentage: Dillon Ward, .817% (6th—1st among G w/ 10 GP)
Goals Against Average: Dillon Ward, 9.49 (5th—1st among G w/ 10 GP)
Goaltender Minutes: Dillon Ward, 600:30 (1st)
Dylan Kinnear, Colorado’s third-round pick (39th overall) in the 2019 NLL Entry Draft, recorded a pair of assists last weekend against the Rush to grant the rookie his first career four-game point streak among the forward’s 10 points (5g, 5a) in seven games with the Mammoth.
Colorado’s second-round pick (23rd overall) in the 2019 NLL Entry Draft, Will Malcom, returned to action and logged an assist against Saskatchewan after spending three games on the Practice Player List. The rookie forward has racked up 11 points (4g, 7a) in seven games with the Mammoth this season.
Defenseman Brett Craig logged 18:03 of floor time and 4 loose balls during the rookie’s second-consecutive start and joins his fellow first-year players in ranking among league-leading rookies:
Goals: Dylan Kinnear, 5 (T7th)
Points: Will Malcom, 11 (7th)
Power-Play Goals: Will Malcom, 1 (T5th)
Loose Balls: Brett Craig, 37 (5th)
Caused Turnovers: Warren Jeffrey/Brett Craig, 4 (T7th)
Shots: Will Malcom, 39 (6th)
Shots on Goal: Will Malcom, 24 (6th)
Consistency is Key
The Mammoth continue to produce on both ends of the floor, executing a pass-first mentality and demonstrating unselfish play through the team’s first 10 contests. Consistent performances from forwards and defenders alike continue to fuel Colorado’s competitive contests while disciplined play continues to support the Mammoth’s special teams’ success.
While the Mammoth have enjoyed spreading the offensive workload, at least one Colorado player has produced a hat trick in eight-of-10 contests this season, including three-plus goal performances by Jacob Ruest (3g, 2a) Nov. 29, Jacob Ruest (5g, 2a) Dec. 28, Joey Cupido (3g, 2a) Jan. 4, Ryan Lee (3g, 2a) Jan. 11, Chris Wardle (5g) and Eli McLaughlin (3g, 4a) Jan. 18, Ryan Lee (5g, 0a) Jan. 25 Eli McLaughlin (3g, 2a) Feb. 1 and most recently Eli McLaughlin (3g, 2a) as the forward logged his third hat trick of the season Feb. 8 in Saskatchewan.
Several Mammoth players continue to contribute points each game, as seven forwards currently hold active point streaks to start the season:
Ryan Lee: (3-3-8-3-5-2-7-5-4-3)
Jacob Ruest: (5-2-7-1-2-1-1-4-1-2)
Chris Wardle: (2-3-6-2-4-2-5-8-3-2)
Kyle Killen: (2-3-3-1-3-3-3-2-1)
Eli McLaughlin: (5-4-4-3-7-7-5-5)
Will Malcom: (3-3-2-1-1-1)
Jeff Wittig: (1-1-3-2-1)
On the flip side, defenders and transition players continue to rack up stellar loose ball counts, with the following consistently leading the scoop charge thus far:
Robert Hope: (11-12-5-6-6-6-10-5-8-16)
Tim Edwards: (8-6-5-4-5-5-1-2-2-3)
Jordan Gilles: (4-4-7-8-2-8-9-10-3-2)
Joey Cupido: (4-6-4-1-6-3-9-3-3-7)
John Lintz: (4-4-3-7-2-1-4-3-3-6)
No “I” in Special Teams
The Mammoth have averaged a 50 percent power-play conversion rate this season and rank tied for third in the league with 18-of-36 conversions, while Colorado’s 18 power-play tallies rank second in the NLL through 10 contests.
Comparatively, San Diego ranks fifth in the league with a 48.78 percent extra-man conversion rate (20-for-41), while the team’s 20 power-play goals are good for first in the league through the Seals’ first eight games. San Diego remains tied with Vancouver with 41 power-play opportunities, as the Seals excel in establishing offensive pressure and aren’t afraid of flexing its transition game, both of which have led to the team successfully drawing penalties this season.
On the defensive end, Colorado has only allowed one shorthanded goal in 10 games and is tied for the second-fewest shorthanded goals allowed total with Buffalo and Saskatchewan. The Mammoth’s penalty kill has maintained a 57.50 percent success rate and ranks seventh in the NLL this season. With a nearly identical penalty kill rate, San Diego’s 57.58 percent is good for sixth in the league, while the Seals have given up the second most shorthanded goals (6) in eight contests, ranking twelfth in that category.
The Mammoth will look to take advantage of Joey Cupido’s speed and breakaway ability against San Diego, while limiting its penalties and ensuring efficiency on the offensive end of the floor Saturday. Defensively, Colorado faces a plethora of lethal scoring threats and needs to limit Jackson and Berg, after the duo combined for 14 points (7g, 7a) when the teams met two weeks ago in Las Vegas.
Get in the Game
Tickets to Colorado’s Feb. 29 matchup against the Philadelphia Wings, and all Mammoth home games, can be purchased at AltitudeTickets.com. Mammoth home games will be aired on Altitude and Altitude 2 network stations, while all road games can be streamed live via Bleacher Report Live.