The Colorado Mammoth secured a chippy 15-14 victory over the San Diego Seals Friday evening during Fan Appreciation Night at Ball Arena. Despite giving up seven power-play goals, the most in any single game throughout the 2022-23 NLL slate, Colorado advanced to 9-7 on the year.
The Loud House was loud and proud early on, but it was San Diego’s Dane Dobbie who got the contest’s scoring started. Coming off a screen high and despite two defenders in his face, the veteran beat Ward early to establish the 1-0 advantage.
But after winning the next faceoff and keeping a majority of its draw team on the floor, Tim Edwards drew a double team heading toward the crease and left a gentle pass for a trailing, and wide open, Anthony Joaqium, who bounced one past Seals’ netminder Frank Scigliano to immediately tie things up.
While San Diego continued to look sharp early, the Mammoth were the first to two goals, as rookie Ty Thompson beat Scigliano from the left side less than two minutes later to create the 2-1 game.
After seeing three penalties called in 38 seconds, another scrappy showdown was quickly unraveling itself, but San Diego found itself with a 4-on-3 look courtesy of the back-and-forth mayhem.
Cashing in on the man-up opportunity, Wes Berg found some space at the top of the key and sent a nasty side-armed bid on net, which found its way past Ward, to tie things at twos midway through the opening quarter. During San Diego’s next possession, it was Berg, again, who struck. This time with an awkward overhand shot, but nonetheless a conversion. Quickly making it three in a row for the away team, former DU product Danny Logan beat Ward low and far side, as the Seals now owned a 4-2 lead with eight to play in the first.
Extending its lead to three with its fourth-consecutive tally, Dobbie came around another screen high, nearly identical to his first strike, and again found the net, now 5-2.
The Loud House surely wasn’t giving up, though, and quickly fueled the boys to a strike of their own, courtesy of the magician, Connor Robinson, who fired a long-range bid on net, and converted!
Less than a minute later, the Seals essentially neutralized the score, via an Austin Staats goal. Then, 59 seconds into the second quarter, Berg completed his first half hat trick in less than 16 minutes, beating Ward again to make it a 7-3 game.
But when you’re the defending champs, resilience is in your DNA. When you’re a magician, you score goals in amazing fashion, and that’s exactly what Robinson did four minutes into the second.
Forcing Ball Arena to explode again just 25 seconds later, veteran defenseman Josh Sullivan finished a transition opportunity with some swag. After logging a pair of assists last game, he flawlessly commanded the floor before beating Scigliano.
Feeling the momentum shift in less than two minutes of play, the man, the myth, the Liger Legend appeared to have brought Colorado back within one, but a quick challenge from the Seals revealed he stepped in the crease before the ball crossed the line. Back to 7-5, but the Mammoth were still in control.
Logging his sixth goal of the season, sprinting off the bench, forward Tyson Gibson completed another transition look with just over six minutes to play in the half, and just like that, the Mammoth found themselves down one. The goal represented his 100th career point.
If momentum hadn’t turned before, it surely had 33 seconds later, when pregame interview star John Lintz beat Scigliano to tie the game at sevens. LOUD would be an understatement, as Ball Arena was ROCKING.
After matching San Diego’s four-goal run, forward Eli McLaughlin decided to make it five in a row with a lethal shot from the right side. Shaking his defenseman and pulling up with the saucy bid, the veteran logged his team-best 34th goal of the season. And yes, the crowd approved.
Colorado eventually took an 8-7 lead into the half after weathering the first quarter storm.
Just 21 seconds into the second half, on the power play, forward Ryan Lee recorded his sixth conversion of the night with a slick stick past Scigliano, but San Diego was able to get one of their own 43 seconds later, courtesy of forward Kevin Crowley.
Seeing Ryan Lee take off for a Flyin’ Ryan Lee attempt, his shot sadly hit the crossbar, but Thompson was waiting just outside the crease, and quickly sent one into the back of the net. Just over a minute later, Williams got the home team back on the board, only to be followed by another diving effort from Colorado. This time courtesy of the provider of magic, Robinson completed his hat trick with just nine minutes remaining in the third quarter. A game of runs, Colorado was cashing in and on Fan Appreciation Night, the fans were cheering loud.
The Seals were able to get one back during a 6-on-5 delayed penalty call, as Staats finished his run with a behind-the-net dunk past Ward to stage a 12-9 game midway through quarter three. No streak for the Seals though, as Williams restored Colorado’s four-goal lead two minutes later.
In rare fashion, Williams decided to take his talent to the sin bin, but only first after laying a few licks on Father Time, Brodie Merrill, before tackling the aging defenseman to the ground. San Diego was able to convert a power-play after coming out of the scrum with a man advantage, another from Berg.
Seconds later, both teams were assessed another pair of penalties, but with Mammoth defenseman Evan Downey drawing a high sticking penalty, San Diego was able to bury another extra-man tally, creating a 13-11 game with 50 seconds to play in the third.
Colorado eventually brought that two-goal advantage into the final 15 minutes of regular season play inside the Loud House.
Pretty much a one-man show on the night, Berg racked up his third in a row, and sixth of the contest, as the talented scorer recorded the coveted sock trick. Tying the game at 13 all less than a minute later, a tally from Staats, San Diego ensured the high-stakes West Conference battle would be a barn burner.
Now five in a row for the visiting contingency, Dobbie completed a hat trick of his own with just over nine minutes remaining in to give San Diego a late 14-13 lead. But after the No. 1 seed committed a roughing penalty at the end of a Colorado possession, the Mammoth found themselves up a man, and quickly turned it into a goal.
Then, tough guy Merrill found himself kicked out of the game, granting Colorado five minutes of 5-on-4 action. Until Colorado was flagged for a two-minute infraction of their own, bringing the game to a 4-on-4 format with seven minutes to go. The suspense continued to build as the rivals kept going at each other.
Staats earned himself a seat in the bench though, and Colorado suddenly found itself with 5-on-3 numbers. Seeing a long stretch pass from the opposite end of the turf, an awaiting McLaughlin accepted the pass, faked out Scigliano, and regained the lead for the Mammoth with four and a half minutes to play.
While the drama continued for the remaining four and a half minutes of play, the score stayed at 15-14 for the final. Closing the season 7-2 within the confines of the Loud House, Colorado improved to 9-7 on the season with two games remaining.
Regardless of the standings, the west still runs through Colorado.
Ryan Lee paced Mammoth scoring efforts with eight points (1g, 7a), while Eli McLaughlin (3g, 3a) and Zed Williams (2g, 3a) each enjoyed five-plus-point nights. Connor Robinson logged another hat trick, amidst his four points (3g, 1a), with faceoff specialist Tim Edwards (0g, 3a) capturing 19-of-31 at the dot. Defensemen John Lintz (1g, 1a), Josh Sullivan (1g, 1a) and Anthony Joaquim (1g, 0a) each got on the board, while Ty Thompson (2g, 0a) continued to show flashes and Tyson Gibson (1g, 1a) chipped in a clutch goal in a game where every conversion counted.
Tyson Gibson recorded his 100th point, while Eli McLaughlin reached the 400 loose ball mark and Zed Williams surpassed the 300-LB career mark as the veterans continues to rack up the milestones.
Now 9-7, with two games remaining, Colorado will prepare for next weekend’s battle north of the border as the Saskatchewan Rush will host the scorching hot defending champions, who seem to have found their stride at the right time.