The Colorado Mammoth recorded its third-consecutive victory Saturday night by posting a critical 11-10 victory over the San Diego Seals and securing a playoff berth for its 10th consecutive season. The win moved the Mammoth past the Seals in the Western Conference standings, where the team currently sits in first place, and arguably represents the team’s most crucial victory of the year.
Ryan Lee (2g, 5a), Connor Robinson (3g, 3a) and Tyson Gibson (2g, 3a) lead Mammoth scoring efforts Saturday, while defenseman Jordan Gilles added a pair of tallies (2g, 0a) and forwards Eli McLaughlin (1g, 2a) and Dylan Kinnear (1g, 0a) rounded out the offensive charge. Recording his ninth win of the season, goaltender Dillon Ward stopped 37-of-47 as the all-NLL talent continued to provide outstanding netminding for the club.
Following a scoreless opening seven minutes of play, Seals’ forward Casey Jackson fired a deep bouncer from the left side past Ward to open the contest’s scoring. Wes Berg was able to convert on an early power-play opportunity after defenseman Nick Finlay was called for a cross-checking call.
In the absence of Zed Williams, Mammoth right-handed forward Tyson Gibson knew he was going to be needed Saturday, and the second-year forward answered the call, as he sent a fiery bid past San Diego goaltender Frank Scigliano to create a 2-1 game and get the Mammoth on the board.
Connor Robinson was next to light the lamp, as the forward received a beautiful pass and screen from teammates Ryan Lee and Eli McLaughlin, respectively, and fired a long range bid from the left side, quickly finding top ched to tie the game. Colorado kept it rolling 30 seconds later, as defenseman Warren Jeffrey started a transition opportunity before lobbing a long pass over two defenders and connecting with a streaking Jordan Gilles, who slammed one past Scigliano. Dylan Kinnear added to the scoring run with an unassisted diving bid at the 4:09 mark of the second to establish Colorado’s first two-goal lead of the evening.
Shifting the momentum away from Colorado’s four-consecutive conversions, defenseman Drew Belgrave finished a one-on-one breakaway opportunity to bring his club back within one. Seals’ forward Austin Staats finished a power-play effort from the top of the point after defenseman Jalen Chaster was called for a checking from behind penalty to tie the game at four.
Gibson logged his second of the night after Ryan Lee drew a slide just outside the crease before sending a switch lob to Gibson, who finished past Scigliano’s right side to re-establish the lead for Colorado at the 7:16 mark.
San Diego’s Casey Jackson was able to tie the game after receiving the ball behind the crease and dunking one over Ward’s left shoulder almost five minutes later.
As the beneficiary of some mid-floor space and a surging teammate in transition, defenseman Jordan Gilles logged his second of the half by finishing a two-on-one opportunity alongside Anthony Joaquim to create a 6-5 game with less than three minutes remaining in the half.
Wes Berg quickly knotted the game at sixes from the right side less than a minute later after former Mammoth forward Jeremy Noble executed a quality seal for his teammate. McLaughlin recorded his first of the night with 25 seconds to play in the second, courtesy of a beautiful set of passes from Robinson and Lee to bring a 7-6 score into the break.
Austin Staats got the Seals on the board a minute into the second half to resume another tied contest. Robinson restored Colorado’s lead five minutes later after firing a saucy bid from the left side past Scigliano, his 39th of the season.
Ryan Lee got the Loud House “jumpin” at the 8:21 mark after his offensive partners kept their feet moving while buying the offensive juggernaut some time before the RIT forward stepped down from the right side and extended the Mammoth’s lead to two.
San Diego was able to earn one back after Casey Jackson peeled off a screen and drew zero coverage to the crease with him, creating a wide-open look three feet from Ward, which he finished to minimize the Seals’ deficit to one. Jackson posted another scrappy goal on a rebound effort before Lee retaliated on Colorado’s ensuing possession by sending a long range step-down bouncer from the right side past Scigliano.
Robinson continued to display the fact that he only scores clutch markers, as the forward told Alexa to play “We R Who We R” as he completed his hat trick while recording his 40th tally of the season five minutes into the final quarter.
San Diego forward Mac O’Keefe logged his 11th of the season from the point four minutes later to bring San Diego back within a goal, but the conversion would serve as the team’s final of the evening, as Ward and Colorado’s defensive unit stood tall and solidified the 11-10 victory.
The Mammoth’s win over its rival in the San Diego Seals puts the organization in first place of the Western Conference and secured the club’s 10th consecutive playoff berth. San Diego eventually clinched its playoff berth later Saturday evening, despite losing its past four, courtesy of the results of other conference matchups.
Colorado will head to Saskatchewan next weekend to play the Rush before enjoying a week of bye rest while the Seals will host Panther City April 15 before finishing its season with two games on the road.
Through 16 contest contests, forward Ryan Lee continues to lead Colorado players with 105 points and 73 assists while teammate Connor Robinson paces the team with 40 goals. Mammoth captain Robert Hope’s 24 caused turnovers and 109 loose balls both qualify as team-best totals despite the defenseman missing the team’s last three games.
This weekend’s matchup in Saskatchewan, and all Mammoth road games, can be streamed live via ESPN+.