The Colorado Mammoth suffered a 14-11 loss Saturday night to the Calgary Roughnecks at Scotiabank Saddledome as the organization’s regular season came to an end. On an evening which featured seven goals from Calgary forward Curtis Dickson and an eventual seven-goal lead for the Roughnecks, Colorado battled back within one, but ultimately dropped the decision.
Eli McLaughlin paced Mammoth offensive efforts with six points (4g, 2a), while Ryan Lee (1g, 5a), Chris Wardle (2g, 2a), Zed Williams (2g, 1a) and Connor Robinson (1g, 2a) rounded out complementary scoring on the evening. Mammoth goaltender Dillon Ward stopped 30-of-42 on the evening, while Christian Del Bianco managed to save 36-of-47 on the night.
Colorado started the intense matchup with some physical play and was quickly flagged for a penalty, as Zed Williams caught a body-checking penalty six seconds into the game, which led to a Curtis Dickson extra-man conversion at the :48 mark.
Williams quickly made up for the mistake two minutes later by burying a power-play tally, the result of slashing penalty on Eli Salama three minutes into the game. On the team’s ensuing possession, Mammoth forward Eli McLaughlin granted Colorado its first lead of the night at the 3:52 mark, but Roughnecks’ forward Tyler Pace responded with a marker of his own to knot the game at twos.
After collecting a rebound from a failed shot attempt, Mammoth goaltender Dillon Ward connected with a streaking Jalen Chaster at midfield, who quickly looked up and found a wide-open Chris Wardle coming from the bench before giving Colorado a 3-2 lead with under three minutes to play in the first.
Dickson evened the contest a minute later after coming around a seal and firing a shot past Ward’s far side and bringing a 3-3 game to the end of the first.
Following a scoreless seven-plus minutes of second-quarter action, Dickson completed his first half hat trick at the 7:22 mark and followed it up with his fourth of the night less than a minute later to extend Calgary’s lead to two. The forward continued to serve as Calgary’s offensive weapon, as he logged his fifth at the 9:51 mark, this one via the power-play. He went on to complete his sock trick with three minutes to play in the opening half.
Tyler Pace recorded the next, creating an 8-3 game with two minutes left in the second quarter before Jesse King added another 40 seconds later, creating a 9-3 game at half.
Zach Herreweyers kept the scoring streak going for Calgary in the second half, netting a shorthanded tally just over three minutes into the third quarter. On the contest’s next possession, Connor Robinson broke Colorado’s scoreless streak, as the Calgary defense allowed the forward to waltz into the crease and fire a quick strike unguarded.
McLaughlin picked up his second of the night after faking a light pass to teammate Ryan Lee before turning on the jets and beating his defender in a race to the crease before diving and burying his bid past Calgary netminder Christian Del Bianco, bringing the Mammoth back within five.
The Roughnecks were able to answer two minutes later via the power-play after defenseman Warren Jeffrey was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Pace picked up another marker during the extra-man opportunity with just under four to play in the third to give Calgary a 12-5 advantage.
Officially breaking John Grant Jr.’s franchise single season record of 116 points, Ryan Lee finished an insane diving attempt across the crease to bring Colorado back within six. Eight seconds later, Joey Cupido was awarded a one-on-one breakaway opportunity, which he finished to decrease the lead to five.
McLaughlin finished his hat trick effort at the 2:11 mark before Colorado drew another holding penalty, which quickly lead to a Zed Williams marker to bring the Mammoth back within three with 12 minutes to play.
McLaughlin was able to reduce Calgary’s lead to two with four-and-a-half minutes remaining to play. With less than two minutes remaining in the contest, Mammoth forward Chris Wardle collected a loose ball behind the opposing crease and dunked a one-handed slam bid past Del Bianco to create a dramatic one-goal lead for the Roughnecks.
Calgary defenseman Eli Salama and Mitch Wilde each logged an empty-net goal with less than a minute to play to solidify a 14-11 final.
Colorado is now set to travel back to Calgary next weekend and finishes the regular season in third place of the West Conference.