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Mammoth Keep Playoff Hopes Alive with Clutch 13-7 Win Over Knighthawks

DENVER – The Colorado Mammoth captured a clutch 13-7 victory over the Rochester Knighthawks Saturday to keep their playoff hopes alive and put on one hell of a show during Colorado Lacrosse Night!

On an evening where the organization celebrated not only the roots and historic traditions of the game we know and love, but welcomed lacrosse athletes, coaches and supporters of all kinds, it as only fitting that Mammoth goaltender and Denver City Lax frontman Eric Law wrapped up the electric night with a postgame chat in front of the loudest crowd of the season.

Picking up win No. 5 on the season before a season-high 11,133 fans inside the LOUD HOUSE, Ward and company held the Knighthawks to a mere seven goals on the night, including just two in the second half, while amassing 44 saves. Zed Williams (4g, 4a) and Eli McLaughlin (4g, 3a) did the heaviest lifting, but on a night where 12 different Mammoth scorers got on the board, it was every bit a team effort.

Finishing off a play just 83 seconds into the contest, Ryan Lanchbury teamed up with Curtis Knight and executed the two-man game to perfection, slipping inside his defender and beating Mammoth goaltender Dillon Ward with a bouncer to give the Knighthawks an early lead.

Doubling down just three minutes later, Lanchbury operated from atop the key, this time pump-faking a pretend shot before catching Ward and the defense off-guard, now 2-0 at the 10:48 mark.

Getting a pick and rolling around the outside, The Magic Man Connor Robinson turned on the jets and sped around his defender before crashing back crease side to beat Rochester netminder Riley Hutchcraft en route to igniting the LOUD HOUSE for the first time Saturday night.

But with Rochester’s Ryan Smith earning his team another two-goal lead with five minutes to play, albeit an impressive tally, the away team regained momentum. Making it two-straight just 36 seconds later, MVP candidate Connor Fields sent one rocketing past Ward to create a 4-1 game as the opening period raged on.

Getting his team back on the board while picking up his first NLL goal in thrilling fashion, Mammoth rookie forward Ben McDonald finished a fancy set of set crease-side moves before eventually slamming one past Hutchcraft and narrowing Rochester’s lead to two five minutes into the second quarter.

Now two in a row for the good guys, Mammoth forward Zed Williams combined an unthinkable amount of fakes with both a defender and goaltender in front of him before somehow finding twine and getting Colorado back within one with just under five minutes remaining in the first half.

Retaliating just a minute and a half later, it was Fields who took advantage of some space on the outside, eventually beating Ward with a long-range, step-down sniper to reinstate his team’s two-goal lead. Despite some chippy playing growing a bit as the second came to a close, the Knighthawks took a 5-3 lead into the break.

Resuming the second half with a little “Baby Shark” action, the Mammoth didn’t waste much time in getting their comeback started, as defenseman Brett Craig continued to showcase his offensive abilities! Beating Hutchcraft up high for his fourth of the year, accepting the rock from none other than fellow draft classman Warren Jeffrey, Colorado was down just one!

Causing the packed LOUD HOUSE crowd to rise to its feet, Eli McLaughlin made it two in a row, as the talented scorer recorded his team-leading 33rd goal of the season in bouncing fashion to knot the game at fives. Seeing Williams pick up a second on the night 50 seconds later, the crowd celebrated once again, as the big-bodied finisher accepted a lob pass directly outside of the crease before diving and beating the Rochester netminder once again.

Four. Straight. Goals.

Thanks to none other than Liger himself, as No. 51 pulled up from afar, with no less than four men in front of him, and fired the fiercest of overhand bids right into the net. Colorado had earned its first two-goal lead of the night and Ball Arena was LOUD!

Completing his hat trick in diving fashion, McLaughlin was FEELING IT. Raising his arms and looking to the crowd for approval, he truly had the building roaring as he took over the contest. Back-to-back.

Starting to run away with it, C-ROB corralled a bit of a high-flying pass from Williams right outside the crease before slamming home a power-play tally, his second of the night! Ke$ha was played, the Magic Man’s favorite, as the LOUD HOUSE was enjoying Colorado Lacrosse Night.

Getting on the board nearly 13 minutes into the second half, Smith notched his second of the night to stop Colorado’s six-goal run.

Thankfully for LOUD HOUSE fans, the boys were still warm from the run, as Williams went top ched to complete his third hat trick of the season while extending Colorado’s lead to four once again with just over a minute to play in quarter three!

Technically killing a penalty, Williams picked up his fourth of the contest four minutes into the final period as he was literally fading away from the goal and had two defenders draped all over him. Down a man, 4-on-5, Williams continues to be one of the most dominant offensive penalty killers once again this season, never backing down from a good ole challenge.

Fields was able to complete Rochester’s first hat trick of the night midway through quarter four, but Colorado stayed composed for the most part while continuing to apply pressure via the transition game. Which, naturally, turned into another late-game Liger goal, as the team passed the ball carefully down the turf before 51 beat a sprinting Hutchcraft for the game-sealer, 12-7.

But for good measure, Dylan Kinnear added an empty netter with 53 seconds left to solidify the 13-7 final.

Zed Williams (4g, 4a) paced the game’s scorers overall with eight points, while Eli McLaughlin (4g, 3a), Connor Robinson (2g, 3a), Brett Craig (1g, 4a) and Dylan Kinnear (1g, 2a) rounded out goal-scoring efforts.

Colorado will now endure another late-season bye week next weekend before returning to the LOUD HOUSE April 5 to host the defending NLL Champion Buffalo Bandits. Limited tickets remain to the Mammoth’s next matchup inside Ball Arena, as the teams which met in both of the previous two NLL Finals are primed to renew their feverish rivalry at the LOUD HOUSE on Grateful Dead Night. So, be sure to lock in your ticket as the team continues its playoff push and get ready to TUSK UP!!!

Colorado Mammoth Pro Lacrosse Team