The Colorado Mammoth dropped its second game of the season, and first since Dec. 11 vs. San Diego, during a defensive 9-7 contest at the Scotiabank Saddledome Friday. After holding a slight 6-5 advantage at the half, Colorado only managed to score one goal in the second half, despite only allowing three as a team after the break, themselves.
Ryan Lee (2g, 2a) and Tyler Digby (1g, 3a) paced Mammoth scoring efforts with four a piece, while Eli McLaughlin (3g, 0a) and Zed Williams (0g, 3a) each added three. Connor Robinson (1g, 0a) logged a second-quarter marker to extend his goal streak to four games and has now scored at least one goal in six-of-seven this season. The forward also added a team-best 11 loose balls in the scrappy matchup.
Calgary began the contest by recording two early goals, as Roughnecks’ forward Haiden Dickson logged the first of the game 50 seconds after faceoff, while Teammate Kyle Waters followed up the strike with a tally of his own just under the three-minute mark.
Entering the weekend with the NLL’s highest points per-contest average (7.16), Mammoth offensive extraordinaire Ryan Lee began scoring efforts for the Mammoth Friday night, sending one past Calgary netminder Christian Del Bianco to reduce his team’s early deficit.
Mammoth forward Eli McLaughlin tied the game with a power-play tally at the 10:57 mark and followed it up with another extra-man tally nearly four minutes later to give Colorado a 3-2 lead heading into the second.
Calgary forward Tyler Pace tied the game as the benefactor of an extra pass from the Roughneck offense, before Mammoth assistant captain Tyler Digby found twine 30 seconds later, placing a beautiful shot past Del Bianco’s left shoulder to give the Mammoth a 4-3 lead.
Representing the third power-play conversion of the opening half, Calgary’s Jesse King knotted the contest three minutes into the second.
Fresh off last weekend’s sock trick performance, Mammoth forward Connor Robinson received a pass from Lee, rolled off his pick and sent a saucer past Del Bianco from the point to continue the back-and-forth contest. Following a rare four minutes of early scoreless action, McLaughlin completed his first half hat trick via the power-play after receiving a pass directly outside the crease, tip-toeing to his left and converting to create a 6-4 game.
Calgary forward Tanner Cook brought the Roughnecks back within one, sending a bouncer past Mammoth goaltender Dillon Ward with under five minutes remaining in the half to solidify a 6-5 score at the break.
Lee got right back to work in the third for Colorado, registering his 16th of the campaign at the 4:44 mark to give Colorado a two-goal advantage. Tyler Pace reduced the lead back to one nearly two minutes later, after finding some space on the left side and converting past Ward.
Roughnecks’ veteran Zach Currier completed a breakaway transition opportunity with a minute remaining in the third, creating another tie game at 7-7. Following nearly 10 minutes of scoreless fourth-quarter action, King established positioning inside his defender and curled to the crease, beating Ward and giving Calgary a late lead. Currier cemented a 9-7 final with an empty-net goal in the final minute of play, as the Roughnecks earned its second victory of the season.
With Curtis Dickson missing action for the team’s second-straight contest, Jesse King (2g, 4a) and company stepped up and spread the offensive workload Friday evening, with six players producing two-plus-point performances, including Tyler Pace (1g, 3a), Haiden Dickson (1g, 2a), Zach Currier (2g, 0a), Kyle Waters (1g, 1a) and Tanner Cook (1g, 1a). Christian Del Bianco denied 28-of-35 against the normally-potent Mammoth offense.
Through seven contests, forward Ryan Lee leads Mammoth players with 47 points and 31 assists, while Connor Robinson leads Colorado with 17 goals. Lee’s 6.71 points per-game represent the second-highest average among NLL players and highest among players who have completed eight-or-more games this season. Robert Hope’s 10 caused turnovers and 69 loose balls both qualify as team-best totals, as the veteran captain continues to lead defensive efforts.
Tickets to Colorado’s Feb. 20 Essential Workers Night matchup against the Saskatchewan Rush, and all Mammoth home games, can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com. Mammoth road games can be streamed live via ESPN+.