The Colorado Mammoth dropped its third consecutive contest Saturday night inside Dickies Arena, a 13-7 final to Panther City Lacrosse Club, and now sits at 4-5 overall on the season. With a rematch looming with the purple and black squad set for next weekend inside the Loud House, the Mammoth will have a chance to clinch its first regular season series of the year, currently tied 1-1.
The Mammoth began scoring efforts in the contest just two and a half minutes into the game, as Tyson Gibson and Eli McLaughlin pretty much dissected Panther City’s defensive unit during a sloppy transition early. Gibson initially sent a quick pass across the formation to an idle McLaughlin, who took advantage of his space by dodging and faking inside, eventually sending a twister past Panther City netminder Nick Damude.
But Colorado wouldn’t maintain the lead for long, as former Mammoth forward Will Malcom evened the contest some 90 seconds later, beating Ward up high during an early 4-on-4 opportunity.
With just under five minutes to play in the opening quarter, Ward sent a high-flying pass to defenseman Jordan Gilles at the PCLC logo midfield. From there, it was all Gilles, as the transition specialist beat an opposing defender outside before darting to the net. Navigating between three defenseman and eventually finding space over Damude’s right shoulder, the veteran recorded his third goal of the season.
After seeing Panther City receive a penalty for illegal substitution, McLaughlin netted his second of the night and first power-play marker after receiving a fantastic pick from teammate Chris Wardle and slamming one past Damude’s left side, creating a 3-1 contest. Answering back with an extra-man advantage of their own with 36 seconds to play in the first, forward Phil Caputo reduced the lead to one.
Continuing what would become a five-goal run for the home team, Donville completed a 3-on-2 transition opportunity with a quick step-down shot, beating Ward down low and evening the game at three a side. Just 28 seconds later, veteran Callum Crawford recaptured the lead for Panther City with a quick stick effort on the back side.
Its third in a row, Panther City added another strike nearly a minute later, as Malcom earned his second of the night at the 12:29 mark. Drawing a penalty four minutes into the second quarter, the Mammoth were forced to again defend a power-play opportunity, but allowed young forward Mathieu Gautier to cash in, forcing a 6-3 advantage.
Mammoth forward Zed Williams was able to stop the run with less than two minutes to play in the opening half. Seeing Gibson attract two defenseman, Williams remained available up top, eventually accepting the pass and double dodge-faking a pair of defenseman himself before launching a tough shot on net, which found twine.
Panther City would enter the break with momentum though, as Donville completed the 6-on-5 empty net effort with a nasty strike from the top of the point to bring a 7-4 lead into halftime.
Staying with the extra-man opportunities in the second half, this time it was Colorado who was able to convert, as Gibson picked up his first goal of the 2022-23 campaign with a nice rip from the left side five minutes into the third quarter.
Two minutes later, Crawford would pick up his second of the night, reinstating Panther City’s three-goal lead. Roughly five minutes later, with just over two minutes to play in the third, Patrick Dodds extended the lead to four.
Again, retaliating with a power-play conversion, Mammoth forward Connor Robinson got himself on the board with 90 seconds to play in the third quarter. But that would be plenty of time for Panther City to score another, as Donville completed his hat-trick effort with his third of the night, creating a 10-6 lead for the home squad as the fourth quarter neared.
Earning a hat trick himself, Crawford went right back to work, beating Ward 55 seconds into the final period, again on the back side. Following a scoreless 10 minutes of play, Gautier picked up his second of the night with six minutes remaining.
McLauhglin went on to complete a hat trick of his own, coming over a double screen and letting a vicious shot find its way past Damude to create a 7-12 game with four to go.
Serving as the final goal in the matchup, Panther City defenseman Josh Medeiros finished off a transition play with an empty-net goal, finalizing the 13-7 final.
Despite looking sharp early, Colorado was outscored 6-3 in the second half and continues to be plagued by the unlucky number 13, having surrendered exactly 13 goals in the team’s last four losses in a row.
Eli McLaughlin (3g, 1a) and Zed Williams (1g, 3a) paced scoring efforts for the Mammoth with four points each, while Tyson Gibson notched three points (1g, 2a). Dillon Ward stopped 40-of-52 shots on net as Colorado dropped its third in a row.
Colorado will now host Panther City at the Loud House Friday, Feb. 24 during Military Appreciation Night. Limited tickets remain available for the contest.