The Colorado Mammoth and entire Colorado lacrosse community welcomed the PLL (Premier Lacrosse League) to the University of Denver’s Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium with open arms Friday and Saturday Aug. 5-6 as the outdoor league hosted four jam-packed games throughout the weekend.
An opportunity to connect with local lacrosse-lovers, witness some elite-level competition and, of course, show off our 2022 NLL Championship t-shirts, several members of the Mammoth front office, ticket sales team and general fanbase were in attendance to cheer on their fellow Mammoth personnel and take in some quality lacrosse during the sold-out weekend of action.
Anchored by the presence of 2022 NLL Finals MVP Dillon Ward, Colorado lacrosse fans witnessed several current and potentially future Mammoth players who have or will plan to suit up for the indoor squad this fall in training camp, including the likes of Zed Williams, Logan Wisnauskas, Asher Nolting, Keegan Khan and Jake Higgins.
Featured in Friday’s lone matchup, and the sole game under the lights during this year’s stop in Denver, the Mammoth’s first selection from the 2021 NLL Entry Draft (2nd round, 22nd overall) Asher Nolting continued his impressive rookie season by putting on a show for friends, family and all fans in attendance. The Colorado Kid grew up just a few miles south and was happy to make his debut playing in his home state within the lacrosse-forward confines of the University of Denver Friday evening.
Despite his Cannons squad dropping the contest 15-12 overall to the Redwoods, Nolting finished the contest with two goals, both assertive and aggressive in nature, as he continues to be featured alongside attackman Lyle Thompson while racking up 18 points (11g, 7a) in his first-year campaign.
Fellow 2021 NLL Entry Draft classmate (3rd round, 44th overall) and rookie PLL contributor Logan Wisnauskas kicked off Saturday’s trio of games with a Chrome team-leading five points (1g, 4a) as he led his club to a 13-9 victory over the Buffalo Bandit-heavy Chaos team. Despite missing a start early in the season due to injury, the rookie has logged 25 points (17g, 8a) in seven games played with Chrome this season, ranking third in goals and tied for sixth-most points in the PLL with veteran Rob Pannel.
Exiting the weekend, Wisnauskas ranked among the league’s most-productive attackmen who were on display in Denver, with top contributors including:
Lyle Thompson: 6 points (4g, 2a)
Logan Wisnauskas: 5 points (1g, 4a)
Rob Pannel: 5 points (2g, 3a)
Conor Kelly: 5 points (3g, 1 2-pt.)
Kieran McArdle: 5 points (2g, 3a)
Game 3 presented, quite literally, a Denver showcase, as the contest featured Mammoth goaltender Dillon Ward and recent University of Denver products Ethan Walker and Jack Hannah against the forces of a pair of Denver City Lax enthusiasts in Eric Law and Trevor Baptiste alongside fellow Pioneer alumni Danny Logan.
Per usual, Ward created a highlight reel’s worth of top-end plays, recording 18 saves in the contest, the most among netminders all weekend, while keeping his club in the game. Another one of the Mammoth’s 2021 NLL Entry Draft selections (5th round, 69th overall), Jake Higgins, an SSDM, recorded some quality time playing with Colorado’s All-Pro goaltender and added one ground ball on the afternoon.
With 15 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, the Waterdogs forced an overtime session with a desperate, tying tally before attendees witnessed a Jack Hannah game-winner. On Atlas’ possession prior to Hannah’s conversion, Ward was aggressive in defending behind his crease and created a turnover, sent a long clear and eventually set up the game-clinching opportunity. The win marked the fifth-straight victory for the Waterdogs after starting the season 0-3 and positions the club in fourth place of PLL standings.
Rounding out the showcase of Mammoth-related talent was Zed Williams and Keegan Khan of the two-time PLL champion Whipsnakes, who helped the Whips finish a 13-11 outing to conclude the weekend of action in Denver. Williams’ four points (2g, 2a) tied for a team-high, alongside Matt Rambo (4g, 0a) and Brad Smith (3g, 1a). Colorado’s fourth-round selection (54th overall) in the 2021 NLL Entry Draft selection, Keegan Khan, scored a goal Saturday afternoon, his sixth goal and eighth point (6g, 2a) of his rookie campaign.