EDITOR’S NOTE: Panther City improved to 2-0 late Friday evening by posting a 9-3 victory over the Las Vegas Desert Dogs during the team’s first-ever home contest inside Michelob ULTRA Arena. Will Malcom (1g, 3a) and Patrick Dodds (1g, 3a) lead Panther City in scoring with four points each, while Dean Fairall (2g, 1a) and Tony Malcom (2g, 0a) each added two goals for the undefeated squad.
Panther City now enters Saturday’s matchup in second place of the West Conference as the second-year group looks to complete its first back-to-back of the young campaign.
COLORADO MAMMOTH (0-1) VS. PANTHER CITY LACROSSE CLUB (2-0)
SAT. DEC. 17 | 6 P.M. MT | DICKIES ARENA
ALTITUDE 2 | ESPN+
With the National Lacrosse League’s 2022-23 campaign officially underway, the craziness known as the NLL standings are already littered with chaos, as the Rochester Knighthawks (2-0) hold an early lead in the East Conference after finishing in last place of the conference last year at 4-14. Meanwhile in the West, San Diego has acquired the only perfect 2-0 record through two weeks, while Calgary and Panther City have each exited their lone contest victorious. Chaotic indeed, Colorado finds itself in the West Conference basement after dropping its season-opening contest to the Saskatchewan Rush, 18-6.
RELATED: Mammoth Drops Season-Opening Matchup to Saskatchewan
Since the top three teams in the West finished the regular season with matching 10-8 records last year, it’s even clearer that each of these West Conference matchups hold an intense value, especially when considering season-long series records, which the Mammoth dropped to four of five West Conference teams last season, only securing the series against the Vancouver Warriors.
Getting outplayed by the league’s newest squad in two-of-three last season, including surrendering a 20-14 final at the Loud House, should be enough to light a fire underneath a Mammoth team who struggled to produce quality offensive sets in Week 1. Following the team’s Week 2 bye, in which the team enjoyed some rest before logging a Friday night practice and attending Saturday’s Mingle With The Mammoth, Colorado should be rested and hungry to head south as former Mammoth front office executive and coach Bob Hamley and company await the defending NLL Champions. Saturday’s matchup at Dickies Arena begins at 6 p.m. MT and can be viewed on Altitude 2 and ESPN+.
Last Time They Met
While the Mammoth ultimately dropped its regular season series to Panther City during the club’s inaugural season, Colorado was able to capture the first of three meetings, 8-7, at Dickies Arena Dec. 17. But after meeting the purple and black squad early in the year, as it was still working out some kinks, the Mammoth would drop its last two matchups with the Texas-based team, via a 20-14 beatdown at Ball Arena March 11 and most recently, a 10-6 loss down south March 26.
After bringing a four-goal lead into the second quarter, Panther City was able to hold off another Mammoth comeback via the quality goaltending services of Nick Damude and its youthful offensive core of players. Seemingly able to draw and quickly convert on penalties throughout the night, the victory marked the club’s fifth-consecutive win, as Panther City was arguably the league’s hottest team in the second half of the season last year.
Mammoth goaltender Dillon Ward had an amazing game himself, stopping 39-of-49 and keeping Colorado in the game until a late Panther City surge. Chris Wardle headlined Colorado’s attack Saturday (3g, 0), while Ryan Lee (0g, 3a), Connor Robinson (1g, 1a), Eli McLaughlin (0g, 2a) and Zed Williams (1g, 0a) rounded out scoring efforts for the Mammoth.
By the Numbers
40: Beginning the season with a 39-39 regular season record at the helm of the Mammoth coaching staff, Head Coach and Assistant General Manager Pat Coyle needs one more win to hit the 40-victory mark in his now five-season tenure as bench boss for the defending champs
100: Originally drafted by the Colorado Mammoth in the sixth round (52nd overall) of the 2015 NLL Entry Draft, veteran defenseman Jordan Gilles logged his 100th career NLL contest in Week 1 during the team’s season-opening matchup against the Saskatchewan Rush Dec. 3
1: As a result of Colorado’s banged up offensive front and shaking off the rust in which the championship offseason provided, second-year forward Brett McIntyre, in just his third regular season NLL contest, was the only Mammoth player to record both a goal and an assist in Week 1’s loss
249: Yeah, we know he’s starting the season on the Injured Reserve List, but we can’t NOT be excited for the return of Ryan Lee. After breaking the franchise’s single-season scoring record (119), shoutout John Grant Jr. and his previous 116-point mark, Lee went on to record a career-best 10 postseason points (2g, 8a) in his lone playoff appearance before ending the year via injury
4: After spending the entire 2021-22 campaign with the team as a member of the team’s Practice Player List or designated as a healthy scratch while serving on the Active Roster, Mammoth defenseman Noah Lebar made his NLL debut Dec. 3, where he logged one loose ball and quality minutes on the floor as the former sixth-round draft selection continues to improve his fundamentals and understanding of the game at the highest professional level
Similar to Marvel’s latest installment in the Black Panther’s Wakandan universe, there’s a new, youthful threat to be reckoned with, in the form of Panther City. Able to reflect on the lessons and experiences gained from the teams and clubs in which they’ve previously represented, a new day dawns for the second-year crew, and they’re off to a hot start.
After seeing Will Malcom explode last year in his first campaign as a regular contributor, just two years after Colorado originally selected the forward in the 2019 NLL Entry Draft, there’s no doubt the Mammoth will look to key in on him defensively, especially after Malcom recorded seven points (4g, 3a) while leading his club in scoring during the team’s Week 2 win over the Las Vegas Desert Dogs. Picking up where he left last season, regularly getting involved in the mix as a scorer and playmaker alike, Phil Caputo’s seven points (3g, 4a) tied Malcom for a team-best last weekend. Another productive youngster up front, Patrick Dodds racked up five points (1g, 4a) against the Desert Dogs, while rookie Johnathan Donville recorded a hat trick (3g, 0a) while making his NLL debut.
On the defensive front, Mammoth fans can expect to see Josh Medeiros mix it up in the transition game, especially after getting off to a hot start from the back end with a pair of points (1g, 1a) in the team’s home-opener against Las Vegas. After forcing 11 caused turnovers last week as a unit, Colorado will look to disrupt Panther City’s presence down low, while getting newly-acquired forward Rhys Duch warmed up as he, Zed Williams and Brett McIntyre look to step up for Colorado’s right side of the unit. With a familiar face in net in Nick Damude, who stopped 30-of-41 during the team’s first win, Panther City hopes to defend Dickies Arena as the 2021-22 NLL Champions swing through for its first of two regular season visits.
The only other thing Panther City has to deal with this weekend: A Friday trip to Las Vegas, as the club is set to face the Desert Dogs Dec. 16 before completing its back-to-back against Colorado on Saturday evening. After dropping the first game of its inaugural campaign to Panther City last weekend, surely the Desert Dogs will tire them out Friday, right?
Get in the Game
Mammoth road games can be viewed on Altitude TV and streamed live via ESPN+. Saturday’s game against Panther City can be viewed on Altitude 2 and 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
Tickets for Colorado’s Jan. 7 home-opener against the Calgary Roughnecks are available for purchase, so come watch us raise our 2021-22 NLL Championship banner and match up with another West Conference rival as we welcome back the LOUDEST HOUSE IN LACROSSE!