Coming off consecutive losses for the first time this season, Colorado prepares for a pair of Western Conference matchups with the Vancouver Warriors March 18 and San Diego Seals March 19. After suffering a 20-14 loss to Panther City Lacrosse Club last weekend, the Mammoth has now dropped three of its last four contests since its 5-1 start. While Colorado hasn’t had much success lately, several of its opponents throughout the conference have also struggled, with Vancouver riding a three-game losing streak, Saskatchewan having dropped its last two and Calgary sitting at 3-6 with a loss in the club’s most recent contest as well.
Which leaves San Diego in control of the West … but we’ll save them for Saturday.
The Mammoth enters its Week 16 matchup against the Warriors with a 6-4 record and 2-0 record this season against Vancouver. Colorado successfully posted victories in consecutive contests against the Warriors, recording a come-from-behind 18-15 victory at Rogers Arena Jan. 7 before securing the regular season series advantage three weeks later during a 9-4 win at Ball Arena Jan. 29.
The Mammoth’s early season success has positioned the organization to begin the double-header weekend in second place of the Western Conference, while the Vancouver Warriors currently rank third with a 5-6 record. If the NLL postseason were to begin this weekend, Colorado and Vancouver would be slated as the two and three seeds for the Western Conference and would meet each other in the first round of playoffs.
Since making a pair of trades prior to the NLL’s March 15 trade deadline, a retooled Mammoth squad will look to take care of business at home before hitting the road Saturday morning to complete the back-to-back.
Mammoth fans will be able to stream Friday’s matchup, and all Mammoth games this season, on ESPN+! This weekend’s matchup will also air locally on Altitude 2.
As the 2021-22 NLL season continues, parody throughout the NLL has been spreading like wildfire, as each of the 14 NLL squads still remain eligible for playoff contention as Week 16 approaches. Marking its longest winning streak in franchise history, the youthful Panther City Lacrosse Club invaded Ball Arena last weekend with a 20-piece against the veteran-led Mammoth squad. The 20-14 contest featured a ton of scoring, as five players recorded hat tricks and four recorded seven-plus point performances.
Colorado dominated the contest early, as the Mammoth received scoring efforts from five different players en route to taking a 5-1 lead into the second quarter. As the result of a major penalty being called on Colorado, Panther City was able to regain momentum by converting two extra-man tallies early in the second before eventually outscoring the Mammoth 7-3, bringing an 8-8 tied contest into halftime. In a mirror image performance of the second, Panther City continued to ride a wave of momentum in the third, again, outscoring Colorado 7-3 and taking a four-goal advantage into the final period. With late Mammoth goals coming from Connor Robinson, Eli McLaughlin and Ryan Lee, the Lacrosse Club was able to add another five scores in the final quarter, cementing the 20-14 decision.
Goaltenders Dillon Ward and Tyler Carlson split time in net last weekend, as Ward stopped 9-of-20 while Carlson recorded 12 saves on 20 shots against. Eli McLaughlin paced Mammoth scorers with seven points (3g, 4a) Friday, while Zed Williams (2g, 4a), Ryan Lee (3g, 2a), Tyler Digby (0g, 4a), Connor Robinson (3g, 0a) and Chris Wardle (1g, 2a) provided quality depth scoring for Colorado. Defenseman Jordan Gilles picked up his second goal of the season in the first quarter before fellow D-guy Erik Turner recorded his first NLL goal during a career-best three-point (1g, 2a) outing.
Ryan Lee & The Consisten-Zs:
Regardless of the team dropping its last two contests, Mammoth forward Ryan Lee continues to exert his dominance on the offensive end of the floor. Now, with some additional ammo on the O-Unit’s right side, Lee will look to remain facilitating for his teammates while taking advantage in space as Colorado’s offensive leader. The RIT product continues to pace Mammoth players in goals (26), assists (39) and points (65) since recording five points (3g, 2a) during Colorado’s last contest. Lee’s 6.5 points-per-game rank second-highest among players to have played in 10-plus games and third-most in the NLL overall heading into Week 16, as the fourth-year forward continues to consistently produce alongside elite NLL scoring talent, including:
Dhane Smith: 7.45 PPG (82 in 11 GP)
Jeff Teat: 7.11 PPG (64 in 9 GP)
Ryan Lee: 6.5 PPG (65 in 10 GP)
Callum Crawford: 6.09 PPG (67 in 11 GP)
Lyle Thompson: 5.91 PPG (71 in 12 GP)
Through Colorado’s first 10 games this season, Ryan Lee has logged a goal in all but one (0g, 9a 2/5 vs. Calgary) and joins teammate Eli McLaughlin as the only players to have recorded at least one point in all 10 contests for the Mammoth this season. After surpassing his previous career-high point total last weekend (60 points in 13 GP), Lee will look to build on his team-best 65 points while continuing to utilize the talents of his teammates. With the recent departure of forward Sam LeClair, who logged at least one point in each of his four games played with the organization, forwards Eli McLaughlin and Zed Williams join Lee as the team’s three players to have scored in each game played:
Ryan Lee (5g, 3a), (1g, 1a), (2g, 3a), (2g, 10a), (4g, 3a), (0g, 9a), (2g, 2a), (5g, 2a), (2g, 4a), (3g, 2a) = (26g, 39a)
Eli McLaughlin (3g, 3a), (1g, 2a), (1g, 3a), (3g, 4a), (1g, 3a), (2g, 1a), (3g, 0a), (1g, 4a), (2g, 2a), (3g, 4a) = (20g, 26a)
Zed Williams (2g, 1a) (0g, 2a), (1g, 1a), (1g, 1a), (1g, 1a), (0g, 3a), (0g, 4a), (1g, 1a), (2g, 4a) = (8g, 18a)
The Mammoth approaches Week 16 of NLL play with the second-best penalty kill percentage (69.8%) after allowing an uncharacteristic four extra-man tallies against Panther City last weekend. Colorado’s 13 shorthanded goals allowed continue to represent the fewest among NLL teams, while it’s opponent Friday in Vancouver holds the league’s best kill percentage (70.8%) and has allowed the second-fewest shorthanded goals allowed (14). Having recorded 114 penalty minutes in 10 matchups, which qualifies as the second-fewest for any team so far this season, the Mammoth head into Friday’s matchup against the Warriors with the fourth-lowest average of penalty minutes per-game (11.40). As the team continues to produce as collective offensive and defensive units, the Mammoth roster features several individuals who rank among league-leaders in multiple categories, despite only logging 10 games, including:
Goals: 26 (T7th) Ryan Lee
Assists: 39 (T8th) Ryan Lee
Points: 65 (6th) Ryan Lee
Points-Per-Game: 6.50 (3rd – 2nd among players with 10+ GP) Ryan Lee
Shots on Goal: 106 (T8th) Ryan Lee
Loose Balls: 90 (T12th) Robert Hope
Caused Turnovers: 17 (T10th) Robert Hope
Shorthanded Goals: 3 (T2nd) Connor Robinson
Shorthanded Assists: 3 (1st) Chris Wardle
Game-Winning Goals: 3 (T2nd) Eli McLaughlin
Save Percentage: .814 (13rd) Dillon Ward
Goals-Against Average: 10.13 (6th) Dillon Ward
*All rankings updated through Week 15 of NLL play
Third Time, Last Time (For Now?)
Vancouver heads south to Ball Arena this weekend sitting in third place of the Western Conference and ranked eighth overall with a 5-6 record. Since the Mammoth and Warriors last met (Jan. 29), Vancouver has enjoyed its season-best three-game win streak by capturing victories over Panther City, Saskatchewan and Calgary but was quickly followed by its season-longest losing streak, suffering losses against Panther City, Halifax and most recently, a 14-5 thrashing from Toronto.
Without its veteran offensive leader in Mitch Jones, who suffered a lower body injury in January, the Warriors have turned to Keegan Bal to get the offense flowing. Bal, who paces Warriors’ personnel in assists (32) and points (51), ranks tied for 20th among NLL leading scorers. Also partly responsible for fueling Vancouver’s second-best power-play unit (51.9%, 27-for-52), Bal enters Week 16 ranked among league leaders in power-play assists (T3rd) and power-play points (T2nd) with 13 and 18, respectively.
Former Mammoth NLL Entry Draft selection Kyle Killen has provided 35 points (24g, 11a) for his new squad, including a team-best 24 markers this season. Good friends with Bal while executing power-play opportunities, Killen has recorded seven extra-man tallies this season, ranking tied for the third-most among NLL players. Veteran forwards Logan Schuss (11g, 22a) and Riley Loewen (11g, 18a) have also helped fill the void in Jones’ absence, while first-year forward Adam Charalambides has recorded 25 points (7g, 18a), which ranks tied for eighth-most among rookies. Matthew Dinsdale has added 22 points (8g, 14a) in 10 appearances.
Receiving 15 points (7g, 8a) from defenseman Reid Bowering, the rookie has accumulated 125 loose balls, which paces first-year players and qualifies tied for the second-most among all NLL players this season. Bowering has also recorded 13 blocked shots in 11 appearances this season, which rank tied for third-most in the league, while adding a rookie class-leading 14 caused turnovers.
Vancouver’s starting goaltender, Alex Buque, began the 2021-22 campaign as one of the NLL’s hottest goaltenders, but has since cooled off and split more time with teammate Steve Fryer in the organization’s last six games. In just over 500 minutes recorded on the year, Buque brings an 11.13 goals-against average, .788 save percentage and 4-5 record into Friday’s matchup. Fryer has maintained a .787 save percentage and 9.84 goals-against average and 1-1 record in 159 minutes of action for the Warriors.
New Faces, New Places
Since signing defenseman Nick Finlay to the team’s practice squad Feb. 26 and later signing defenseman and faceoff specialist Alex Woodall to the team’s active roster March 4, the Mammoth executed a pair of moves March 15 just before the NLL’s trade deadline concluded.
Colorado announced Tuesday that the organization acquired forward Tyson Gibson from the New York Riptide in exchange for forward Tyler Digby, defenseman Ron John and a 2024 first-round NLL Entry Draft selection. The Mammoth also announced that it acquired defenseman Anthony Joaquim and a 2022 third-round NLL Entry Draft selection from the Philadelphia Wings in exchange for forward Sam LeClair and a 2022 second-round NLL Entry Draft selection. The pair of incoming players are expected to log their first practice with the team Thursday evening before entering the lineup to show the Loud House fans what they can bring to the table.
Gibson, 25, has recorded 28 points (8g, 20a), 37 loose balls and five power-play assists in 11 games with the Riptide this season. Originally drafted first overall by New York in the 2019 NLL Entry Draft, the Robert Morris product has recorded 71 points (24g, 47a) and 88 loose balls in 23 career contests. Gibson’s standout first-year campaign with the Riptide earned him NLL Rookie of the Year honors, as the forward racked up 43 points (16g, 27a) en route to being named to the NLL All-Rookie Team. The 6-1, 185 lb. Maple, ON native finished the year ranking among rookie players in goals (T2nd), assists (T1st) and points (2nd), while pacing Riptide personnel in point and assist totals for the 2019-20 NLL season.
Joaquim, 27, has logged five points (2g, 3a), four penalty minutes, 59 loose balls and 16 caused turnovers in 12 contests with the Wings this season. Originally selected eighth overall by the New England Black Wolves in the 2017 NLL Entry Draft, the 6-2, 205 lb. defenseman was later selected 11th overall by the Philadelphia Wings in the 2018 NLL Expansion Draft. The Guelph, ON native has recorded 22 points (9g, 13a), 16 penalty minutes, 231 loose balls and 49 caused turnovers in 53 NLL contests.
Get in the Game
Tickets to Colorado’s March 18 St. Patrick’s Day Party matchup against the Vancouver Warriors, 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+.