Mammoth Closes Homestand, Opens Back-to-Back with Win over Swarm
February 3, 2023By: James Youness, Mammoth PR
After accepting a lofty pass from Chris Wardle, Dylan Kinnear backed his defender down, peeling crease side and eventually drawing a second man, which left forward Brett McIntyre open. The sophomore forward quickly took advantage of the opportunity and got Colorado on the board two minutes into the contest, beating Brett Dobson on his backside, McIntyre’s fifth of the year.
Georgia showed a scrappy effort early, not backing down from the defending champs. But the physical play quickly turned into to an extra-man advantage for Colorado two minutes later when Jeremy Thompson was called for a cross-checking penalty. Chris Wardle found himself on the receiving side this time, taking a pass from Rhys Duch and slamming one home to create a 2-0 ball game. Duch’s helper moved him into 11th place all time in career assists, his most recent marker as the veteran continues to ascend the record books.
Midway through the opening slate, Georgia climbed back within one when Bryan Cole broke free on a switch and beat Mammoth goaltender Dillon Ward high.
But the magic show was just getting started as Wardle and teammate Connor Robinson worked the two-man game perfectly on the ensuing possession, earning Robinson a crease-side look, which he converted on, to log his 100th career NLL point and reinstate Colorado’s two-goal lead.
While the remainder of the first quarter was scoreless, Kinnear got the scoring started early in the second quarter by finishing a quick pass from Eli McLaughlin while diving toward the crease and beating Dobson to pick up his third this season.
After containing one of the best lacrosse talents in the world for the opening 18 minutes of play, Swarm forward Lyle Thompson scored his first of the night via the power play, as defenseman Jalen Chaster was flagged for getting physical with Thompson on the previous play, never an easy assignment.
Thompson completed the back-to-back effort just over two minutes later to bring Georgia within one goal at 4-3. He nearly had a consecutive hat-trick a minute later, but was deemed to have stepped on the crease in his attempt.
Instead, on the next possession, Duch fought off two defenders on the left side before drawing the step of a third while firing a laser on net, which connected, as Colorado continued to spread the offensive load.
Plagued with another illegal substitution, a frequent call against the team in the last 20+ games, Colorado surrendered another extra-man opportunity, as 2019 NLL MVP Shayne Jackson swung the ball around a few times before picking a spot and finding twine with just over five minutes remaining in the opening half.
In his third appearance of the season with Colorado, defenseman Evan Downey completed a two-on-one transition opportunity 30 seconds later to again restore the Mammoth’s two-goal lead and give the back-ender four points (1g, 3a) in three games.
Mammoth forward Zed Williams drew a checking from behind penalty, granting Colorado another man-up chance. Again, attracting attention and mayhem alike, Williams drew the attention of two defenders, allowing McLaughlin to sneak into the middle of the box and become the seventh different Mammoth scorer in the half.
Seth Oakes got Georgia back on the board with 30 seconds to play, sending a fierce step-down bid from far past Ward, creating a 7-5 game heading into the break.
After scoring 9 goals last weekend in San Diego, Colorado logged seven in the opening 30 minutes, seeing various parts of both units get involved in transition opportunities, special teams finishes and quality 5-of-5 action.
The first action of the second half came as Chaster was called for his second penalty of the night seven minutes into the third quarter. Faking a pass then darting towards the crease, Cole notched his second of the evening with seven to play in the third. Oakes picked up a second of his own to knot the game at sevens nearly a minute and a half later.
Following a lengthy officials review of a waved-off attempt, Georgia was granted its goal, as Adam Wiedemann recorded his fifth of the year established Georgia’s first advantage of the night as the Swarm’s run continued.
But when magician Connor Robinson is in the mood for some K3$ha, he’ll let you know, and did just that, evening the game with 1:40 to play in the second with a patented step-down saucer and following it up 80 seconds into the fourth quarter to complete the hat trick effort.
Always a fan of a big celebration in front of the fans, McLaughlin completed a quick give-and-go play, accepting the rock from Duch and hand-selecting a nice spot in the bottom left of the net to give Colorado a 10-9 advantage midway through the final 15.
Giving it his all at both ends of the floor, Robinson dropped back to prevent a transition opportunity and drew a penalty on fellow forward Brendan Bomberry, thus creating a power-play opportunity. Never afraid to help close a game, Williams got himself on the board en route to extending Colorado’s lead back to two.
Speaking on penalties, Robert Hope was called for one less than a minute later, which lead to an Andrew Kew conversion with six minutes remaining.
Duch called game though, granting Colorado a late advantage after Robinson recognized the space the veteran was being allowed, and #10 converted. But after the Swarm pulled their goalie, Robinson picked up his fourth of the contest, cementing a 13-10 final.
Connor Robinson (4g, 2a), Rhys Duch (2g, 5a) and Chris Wardle (1g, 6a) paced Mammoth scorers with seven points each on a night where eight different players scored for Colorado. Eli McLaughlin chipped in six points of his own (2g, 4a), while Zed Williams (1g, 2a), Brett McIntyre (1g, 0a), Evan Downey (1g, 0a) and Dylan Kinnear (1g, 1a) each recorded goal in the cross-conference showdown. After missing last weekend’s contest against San Diego, Mammoth goaltender Dillon Ward recorded 39 saves on 49 shots on goal as Colorado registered more shots than its opponent for the first time of the year Friday (50.)
Captain Robert Hope logged seven loose balls amidst recording the 900th of his career.
Colorado will now look to complete its only back-to-back of the season when the squad heads to Las Vegas Saturday to face the Desert Dogs for the first time.
Be sure to stay tuned to coloradomammoth.com and Colorado Mammoth social media channels for the latest team updates, transactions, fan events and beyond as the 2022-23 NLL campaign rages on!
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