The Colorado Mammoth dropped a 17-10 decision to the San Diego Seals during a scrappy contest as Las Vegas hosted its first professional lacrosse game at Orleans Arena Feb. 1.
“We didn’t show up tonight – Our goalies were the only ones who seemed to show up,” Mammoth captain Dan Coates said. “It’s on us individually, collectively, and we need to find a way to turn it around next week.”
Former Mammoth forward Zack Greer opened the scoring for San Diego just over two minutes into the game before Colorado took over for the duration of the quarter.
Twenty-five seconds later, following a Tim Edwards faceoff win, Dylan Kinnear shifted around his defender and slammed a quick shot past Seals’ goaltender Nick Damude to tie the game at one.
Eli McLaughlin received a high stretch pass from Kyle Killen at the restraining line and freed himself before the forward converted a quick strike past Damude five minutes into the opening quarter.
Mammoth netminder Dillon Ward connected with a streaking Joey Cupido during a penalty-kill at the 10:46 mark to give the goaltender his fourth assist of the year. Cupido registered his league-best third shorthanded goal of the campaign to give Colorado a two-goal lead with four minutes remaining in the first.
San Diego recorded the first goal of the second quarter, as Kyle Buchanan logged his first of the evening from the right side.
Casey Jackson sent a shot at the net that Ward deflected and initially stopped before the ball trickled in to tie the game. Greer netted his second of the night 13 seconds later with a bounce shot past Ward’s right side to give San Diego a 4-3 lead.
McLaughlin came off a pick-and-roll on the right side and fielded a pass from Ryan Lee before notching his second of the night to tie the game at four with seven minutes to play.
Buchanan found an unguarded Jackson just outside the crease to Ward’s left, who planted his feet and converted his second of the evening. Jackson completed his first-half hat trick 30 seconds later after hiding behind Ward’s net for a majority of San Diego’s offensive set, before receiving a quick pass from Jeremy Noble and diving into the crease to give the Seals a two-goal lead.
Austin Staats and Greer successfully created space on the pick-and-roll before Greer converted his third of the night at the 9:57 mark.
Chris Wardle answered with a goal via the pick-and-roll with just under four minutes to play in the first half before McLaughlin completed his first-half hat trick following a slick pass from Lee with two minutes remaining in the second quarter.
San Diego netted an empty-net goal as the first half expired to take an 8-6 lead into halftime.
Wes Berg converted a power-play goal to start the scoring in the second half following a delay of game penalty charged to the mammoth at the end of the first half. Noble increased San Diego’s lead to four at the 8:30 mark to give the Seals a 10-6 lead. Berg netted his second of the night with two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Noble connected with Buchanan on a delayed penalty, who dove from behind the net to give San Diego a 12-6 lead.
Rookie defenseman Brett Craig answered 11 seconds later following another Edwards faceoff win and took off into the o-zone before logging his second marker of the season.
Kinnear brought the Mammoth back within four with a beautiful behind-the-back tally four minutes into the final quarter as the result of a Cupido breakaway opportunity.
Staats quickly answered with his first of the season 36 seconds later. Jackson netted his fourth of the night with nine minutes to play in the fourth. Connor Fields added a marker less than a minute later to make it 15-8 in favor of San Diego.
Jacob Ruest logged his 14th goal of the season with five minutes to play to bring Colorado back within six.
Jackson added his fifth of the night with less than five minutes to play. Ryan Lee netted his first of the night at the 11:38 mark from the right side before Drew Belgrave added an empty-net goal with two minutes remaining to solidify a 17-10 final score.
“We didn’t display the characteristics that you need to in order to be a winning team,” Defensive Coordinator Andrew McBride shared in a postgame interview. “We need to be able to respond and prove that we’re worthy of playing in this league night in and night out.”
Jackson led San Diego in scoring with eight points (5g, 3a) as Noble chipped in seven (1g, 6a), while Fields (1g, 5a) and Berg (2g, 4a) each logged six points on the evening. The usually top-heavy Seals spread the load Saturday, as eight players finished with three or more points in the contest.
McLaughlin led the charge for the Mammoth, logging a hat trick among five points (3g, 2a), while Ryan Lee posted four (1g, 3a). Ward and Tyler Carlson combined to stop 31-of-44 while Nick Damude made 30-of-40 saves in his second win of the season.
“It’s cool to be here tonight and to be a part of the league in general – To see what the league’s been able to accomplish the last few years through expansion and growing the game, I’m not surprised the place was pretty full tonight,” Coates said.
Through nine games, forward Ryan Lee leads the Mammoth in goals (15) and points (40) while Eli McLaughlin continues to pace Colorado with 25 assists after logging five points (3g, 2a) against San Diego Saturday.
Tickets to Colorado’s Feb. 15 matchup against the San Diego Seals, and all Mammoth home games, can be purchased at AltitudeTickets.com. Mammoth road games can be streamed live via Bleacher Report Live.