The Colorado Mammoth dropped a dramatic 10-9 overtime contest at the SaskTel Centre Saturday, as the Rush secured its third win of the season. After spotting its opponent an early lead, Colorado turned up the scoring dial in the second half, outscoring the Rush 5-3 to eventually force a dramatic overtime ending.
Despite the outcome, Dillon Ward continued to shine in net for Colorado, as the goaltender stopped 62-of-72 on the evening. Ryan Lee (2g, 4a) and Connor Robinson (2g, 4a), in his first game back at the forward’s old barn, each recorded six points Saturday. Eli McLaughlin kept his nine-game goal streak alive after posting four points (2g, 2a), while Chris Wardle (1g, 2a), Zed Williams (1g, 1a) and Tyler Digby (0g, 2a) highlighted offensive efforts for Colorado. Forward Dylan Kinnear also continued a recent goal streak, as the second-year O-man posted a dirty, yet fantastic, diving effort late in the third quarter.
Saskatchewan came out firing Saturday, logging three early markers through the contest’s first ten minutes of play, as Rush veterans Robert Church, Chris Corbeil and Austin Murphy created an early 3-0 lead.
Fresh out of the under-five timeout, Colorado sparked its offense by executing a set play, as Connor Robinson sent a quick pass to Eli McLaughlin, who tip-toed along the crease and recorded the first of the evening for the Mammoth.
Church picked up his second of the evening eight minutes later to re-instate the Rush’s three-goal lead before completing his first-half hat trick at the three-minute mark of the second.
Chris Wardle logged his fifth of the year as a benefactor of a Rush double-team on Ryan Lee, as the forward fired a step-down shot past recently-acquired goaltender Eric Penney after a quick-footed Lee drew the extra man heading toward the crease. Lee picked up a score of his own less than a minute later via a power-play conversion seven minutes into the second.
Rush forward Jeff Shattler recorded a power-play tally of his own with just over two minutes in the opening half, courtesy of a holding the stick penalty called on the Mammoth.
Zed Williams earned it back nearly a minute later after taking two defenders to the net, pulling back and launching a side-armed bid past Penney to bring a 6-4 score to the break.
Church recorded his fourth of the evening via the power-play five minutes into the third quarter. Assistant Captain Tyler Digby helped pave the way for Colorado’s next goal, as Lee took advantage of some space and nice dish from Digby, as the forward sent one past Penney at the 10:49 mark of the third.
Mammoth forward Dylan Kinnear executed on a near-crease isolation look minutes later, backing his defender toward the crease, picking up the slide of another Rush defenseman and sending a spinning shot past Penney to reduce Saskatchewan’s lead to one.
DU product Mark Matthews picked up his first of the night with a diving effort to re-earn another two-goal lead for his Rush squad. Digby continued to make big plays Saturday after drawing a second defenseman on the right side and found teammate Connor Robinson in a crowded area outside the crease, who sent a fierce bid into the net.
Saskatchewan remained committed to moving Mammoth goaltender Dillon Ward around throughout the evening, as Rush forward Ryan Keenan finished another tic-tac-toe extra pass tally with 10 minutes remaining in the contest.
Robinson finished another amazing effort, this one a shorthanded conversion, with two-and-a-half minutes left to bring Colorado back within one. With less than thirty seconds remaining, the Mammoth called a timeout and executed a game-tying play, as McLaughlin logged his second of the night and forced an overtime session.
The first of the season for Colorado, the Mammoth battled back-and-forth in the extra action as Ward continued to stand tall for the team. As the seventh minute of play approached, the Rush eventually snuck one past the Mammoth goaltender to end its two-game losing streak and propel its record to 3-6 on the season.
Robert Church’s seven points (5g, 2a) and five goals each qualified as contest-highs, while the veteran was the only Rush player to record more than one marker on Saturday. Mark Matthews (1g, 3a), Jeff Shattler (1g, 2a), Chris Corbeil (1g, 1a) and Austin Murphy provided depth scoring for the organization on a night that was a race to 10. Defenseman Mark Messenger was awarded 22-of-23 faceoffs Saturday, a key element in the one-goal game, as the Colorado Mammoth were without its normal draw man in Tim Edwards. In his first game with the organization, goaltender Eric Penney managed to stop 28-of-37 in nearly 67 minutes of play to help his new squad regain momentum and return to the win column.
Through nine contests, the official halfway point for the Mammoth organization this season, forward Ryan Lee continues to pace Colorado players with 60 points and 37 assists. Mammoth captain Robert Hope’s 16 caused turnovers and 85 loose balls both qualify as team-best totals, as the veteran continues to headline defensive efforts.
Tickets to Colorado’s March 11 Rumble at the Loud House matchup against Panther City Lacrosse Club, and all Mammoth home games, can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com. Mammoth road games can be streamed live via ESPN+.