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Mammoth Capture Epic 18-10 Win Over Riptide in Return to Ball Arena

DENVER – The Colorado Mammoth captured an epic 18-10 final over the New York Riptide Friday night inside of Ball Arena in front of nearly 10,400 rowdy LOUD HOUSE fans.

Celebrating RUMBLE AT THE LOUD HOUSE (with an awesome postgame wrestling royale thanks to our friends at Rocky Mountain Pro Wrestling) throughout the night, players also honored the league’s “Every Child Matters” awareness campaign before the contest. Wearing orange shirts as a collective unit, the teams honored the game while giving their all once the contest began.

During the Riptide’s opening possession of the game, Larson Sundown accepted a light pass just outside of the crease before beating Mammoth goaltender Dillon Ward far-side to give New York an early 1-0 lead just 79 seconds into the contest.

Attempting to kill a delayed penalty, Colorado allowed the trailing sixth man to field a pass directly in front of Ward, as Riptide forward Reilly O’Connor stepped into a fierce overhand bid and found top chef, making it two-straight for the away team.

Grasping a loose ball turnover near mid-floor, defenseman Brett Craig scooped up the rock and took it the rest of the way, eventually beating Riptide goaltender Cameron Dunkerley on the breakaway to cut the early lead in half. Originally called a crease violation on the floor, Head Coach Pat Coyle quickly decided to challenge, which ended up being a great call, as the call was overturned and later ruled good.

After a snoozy couple of games as the talented scorer reloaded his bag of tricks, the Magic Man Connor Robinson got back to his usual ways Friday night en route to tying the game at twos midway through the opening quarter.

Despite spotting New York an early lead, Colorado looked good throughout a majority of the first quarter, regularly creating chances in transition and in 5-on-5 sets, but they weren’t able to cash in on many of the quality looks.

Eventually relinquishing a goal to the Riptide, it was forward Austin Madronic who finished a long-range snipe, now 3-2 in favor of the white jerseys.

Transition player John LaFontaine finished an awkward transition play with a minute to play in the opening frame courtesy of a side-armed, mid-sprint shot, which found its way past Ward and re-established New York’s two-goal advantage.

Playing a little isolation ball as the shot clock began to wind down, Mammoth forward Zed Williams backed down his defender before creating some space, turning around with a ferocity and finding twine via his first of the night four minutes into the second.

Just weeks after starring in quite the comical TSN skit alongside NLL broadcast professional Pat Gregoire, Connor Kearnan recaptured some momentum for the Riptide, notching his 18th on the season a minute later.

The league’s mid-season MVP in Jeff Teat followed up the strike by putting his defender into the spin cycle (though it looked like Hope was expecting some help on a switch) while instantly unleashing a shot and scoring two minutes later as the scoreboard read 6-3.

Letting Conor Kelly do the dancing, Eli McLaughlin accepted a cross-set pass from No. 40 and quickly slammed it home, his 24th of the season!

Getting his second of the night while bringing the boys back within two once again, Robinson pulled up from a distance and willed his shot into the net, 7-5. Making it two-straight for the good guys, Mammoth forward Tyson Gibson came crashing toward the crease before sneaking a low bid past Dunkerley as the LOUD HOUSE erupted!

But just 15 seconds later, Kearnan doubled down in transition fashion while reinstating his squad yet another two-goal advantage. With the score remaining for the duration of the opening 30 minutes, the Mammoth were down just two heading into the break.

Granted a power-play opportunity as the first half expired, Colorado returned to the turf with some vengeance, as Gibson thrusted a sick twister towards the net for his second of the night as Ball Arena erupted once more. Momentum was flowing.

Facing the very team that drafted him and later sent him packing the very season after earning NLL Rookie of the Year honors, Gibson completed the hat trick against his former squad, courtesy of a nasty step-down saucer. The LOUD HOUSE was vibing and Gibson was feeling it!

Getting one back for the road team, Kevin Brownell secured his first of the season, now 9-8 Riptide.

With defenseman Joey Cupido drawing a penalty midway through the third, Gibson called heat check, and passed the test, as he ignited Ball Arena once again. Receiving a slick feed from Liger, he instantly slammed it home for his fourth of the night.

You’ll want to look this next goal up though, as Zed Williams shed his double-team before later ducking inside of a defender and peeling crease-side, only to dive and beat Dunkerley for his second of the contest and regaining the lead for the home team.

Nearsy hit his defender with the shake and bake, peeled inside before firing a weird, yet successful, shot into the net to give the Mammoth an 11-9 lead. Following it up just 23 seconds later, using his strength, the Magic Man put the finishing touches on his “hat” trick, as he dove across the crease with a man draped over him to gain his team its first three-goal advantage of the game with less than two remaining in quarter three.

Missing the past two games on the team’s Hold Out List, Mammoth forward Chris Wardle returned to action Friday night and returned to the scoresheet, picking up his sixth of the campaign. Robinson, Wardle (welcome back)

Zed kicked off the final 15 by converting backdoor as the home team began to run away with it. Continuing to pour it on, Kelly was left wide open, and took advantage of the lull, sending one past the netminder and extending Colorado’s lead to six.

Finishing off the two-man game, McLaughlin flipped a behind-the-back lob to an awaiting McLaughlin. Knowing exactly what to do with the ball, he found twine for the second time and created a 16-9 contest.

And for the next goal … We don’t even know how to describe this one. With Kinnear drawing a double-team and eventually a bit of a cross-check, he launched the ball in the air in the direction of an awaiting McLaughlin. Positioned perfectly outside the crease, he juggled, collected and slammed it home once again. And then … less than a minute, Liger completed the natural hat trick with one of the most dramatic yet amazing behind-the-back bids we’ve seen in quite a while.

Things got a little scrappy as the game came to an end, but it didn’t change the result. Not even close!

O’Connor was able to chip one in with 60 seconds remaining to solidify an 18-10 final.

This was undoubtedly one of the most electric games inside Ball Arena in the past few seasons, and with nearly 10,400 fans in attendance, the place was LOUD!

Eli McLaughlin’s nine points (4g, 5a) paced Mammoth scorers on the night, while Connor Kelly (1g, 6a), Connor Robinson (3g, 4a), Tyson Gibson (4g, 2a), Zed Williams (2g, 2a) and Chris Wardle (1g, 3a) rounded out primary scoring efforts for Colorado on a night where the LOUD HOUSE was often on its feet! Mammoth goaltender Dillon Ward stopped 34-of-44 in Saturday night’s decision en route to allowing just two total goals throughout the final 30 minutes of play.

Colorado will host its second-consecutive contest inside the LOUD HOUSE next weekend as the team prepares to host the Saskatchewan Rush March 2 during Marvel Super Hero ™ Night. Limited tickets remain, so be sure to lock yours and get ready to TUSK UP!!!

Colorado Mammoth Pro Lacrosse Team