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Mammoth Opens West Conference Finals in San Diego May 13

Fresh off its first postseason victory over the Calgary Roughnecks in 16 years (2006), the Mammoth has its sights set for San Diego as the West’s regular season champions welcome Colorado to Pechanga Arena Friday, May 13. The thrilling 16-12 victory came seven days after Calgary left a sour taste in the mouths of Mammoth fans, with the team handing Colorado a 14-11 final and spoiling its first-place aspirations. With revenge in mind, stemming not just from the week prior, but a sense of bitterness building within the organizations for a decade-and-a-half, Colorado completed the job, paving its way to the West Conference Finals. Now tasked with playing San Diego in a best-of-three series, the Mammoth will head west and attempt to earn its first postseason victory against the Seals Friday night.

Despite dropping the regular season series (1-2) to San Diego, Colorado enters the matchup having registered 16 markers against a tough Calgary squad while accumulating a 4-2 record in its last six games. Meanwhile, after taking an early lead in the West with an impressive first half of the campaign, San Diego comes into Friday’s game having logged nine goals last weekend while dropping six of its last eight matchups, though both of the mentioned victories came during its past two matchups (4/30 @ VAN, 5/7 vs. PHI).

Ryan Lee’s 10 postseason points (2g, 8a) earned during Colorado’s Quarterfinal victory over the Calgary Roughnecks last weekend rank first among NLL players through one round of eliminations. Teammates Connor Robinson (5g, 1a) and Eli McLaughlin (3g, 3a) head into the Conference Finals with six points each and ranked tied (along with four other NLL forwards) for the second-most points among postseason performers so far, thus showcasing Lee’s four-point lead through the first wave of contests. Veteran forward Chris Wardle joins the ever-producing trio among top-15 scorers, as the Victoria native logged five points (1g, 4a) Friday in Calgary, which qualify tied for third-most, along with seven others, through the Quarterfinal round.

Since returning from a few months on the Injured Reserve List, Tim Edwards has quickly reminded the league that he’s here to win faceoffs, as the veteran secured 20-of-30 (66.67%) opportunities last weekend in Calgary in just his second contest back on the turf. Edwards’ 20 wins rank second-most through the Quarterfinal round, while his win percentage sits tied for second with Jake Withers (both who trail Trevor Baptiste’s impressive 81% win rate). Staying involved on the defensive end after collecting nine loose balls and recording two caused turnovers, Jordan Gilles has continued to let his transition presence be felt, as the defenseman’s four points (2g, 2a) sit tied with Halifax’s Ryan Terefenko for most among back-enders so far.

Austin Staats is San Diego’s lone forward to rank top-15 (T3rd) with five points (2g, 3a), as the squad featured four scorers to produce two goals each in the contest, including Dane Dobbie (2g, 2a), Wes Berg (2g, 1a) and rookie defenseman Patrick Shoemay (2g, 0a), who logged his first two career goals in his first postseason appearance. Goaltender Frank Scigliano finished the evening stopping 44-of-52 and exiting the contest with an 8.00 goals-against average and .846 save percentage.

The Mammoth were called for three two-minute minors (6 PIM) and the Seals found guilty of four themselves (8 PIM) last weekend, but fans should expect to see a bit more physicality and scrappiness Friday between the familiar rivals, as San Diego averaged 14.22 PIM-per game in the regular season, ranking third-most in both categories, while Colorado finished the 2021-22 campaign ranked 13th in both total penalty minutes (191) and PIM-per game (10.61).

Regardless of the outcome of this weekend’s matchup, the squads will visit Ball Arena Saturday, May 21 for Game 2 of the series. Representing Colorado’s first home playoff game since 2017, the Mammoth will look to steal one on the road and position itself for a potential NLL Finals-clinching victory in front of a rowdy Loud House audience next weekend.

Meanwhile in the NLL’s East Conference, the Toronto Rock heads to Buffalo to take on the Bandits this weekend after the Rock completed a stunning 14-13 overtime victory over the Halifax Thunderbirds, while Buffalo continued to exert its dominance in a 10-5 regional battle against the Albany FireWolves. For a complete, updated listing of Conference Final matchups, Mammoth postseason information and beyond, be sure to check out our 2022 Colorado Mammoth Playoff Hub.

Friday’s matchup at Pechanga Arena represents the first postseason matchup between the organizations, as well as the fourth meeting between the teams during the 2021-22 campaign and second to be hosted in San Diego. Mammoth fans will be able to watch this weekend’s matchup on ESPNU and stream live on ESPN+!

Looking Back:

Colorado captured an ever-important 16-12 Quarterfinal victory last weekend against the Calgary Roughnecks and now head west to San Diego for Game 1 of the West Conference Finals Friday.

After seeing an early Mammoth goal wiped away via a challenge review for crease violation, Jordan Gilles ensured Colorado got on the board first, as the defenseman recorded his first of the night and the first of the contest nearly five minutes into the first quarter. Quickly followed up by a Haiden Dickson marker during Calgary’s next possession, Mammoth forward Connor Robinson decided he was going to have a game, and started his extreme performance by burying a pair of goals at the 8:30 and 10:44 marks of the first. The remainder of the opening period belonged to the Roughnecks, though, as Calgary recorded three goals (Tyler Pace, Zach Herreweyers, Jesse King) in the last four minutes of opening-quarter play.

Despite struggling to produce some key “retaliation” goals throughout the year, Colorado was up to the task several times Friday, as Mammoth forward Eli McLaughlin opened the scoring 72 seconds in the second and received some hat trick-earning support from roommate Connor Robinson two minutes later to give Colorado a 5-4 lead. A power-play tally from Calgary’s Tyler Pace was quickly answered with another pair of Mammoth strikes, as Ryan Lee and McLaughlin recorded back-to-back goals at the 10:35 and 10:59 marks. With 61 seconds remaining in the half, Herreweyers was able to convert on an extra-man attempt and brought the Roughnecks back within one heading into the break.

Exiting halftime with some extra juice, Jesse King and his Calgary squad came out firing, as King converted past Mammoth goaltender Dillon Ward 30 seconds into the second half before following it up with another successful bid three minutes later, earning Calgary another lead in the back-and-forth contest. McLaughlin would eventually complete his hat-trick effort midway through the third, but Herreweyers was able to complete the accolade of his own a minute later to re-establish a lead for the Roughnecks. It was at that point the Mammoth squad decided it was time to rally, as the contest’s next four goals came from dudes with mountains on their jerseys in Chris Wardle, Robinson (x2) and another Lee goal three minutes into the fourth.

Calgary’s Dan Taylor (4:48) and Eli Salama (8:27) each stepped up to provide some depth scoring for the veteran organization, but another four-goal Mammoth run (Zed Williams, Tyson Gibson, Joey Cupido, Jordan Gilles) proved to be too much for the Roughnecks to overcome, as Tyler Pace’s third of the night, which came at the 14:15 mark, finalized a 16-12 Mammoth win.

Ryan Lee paced Mammoth players with 10 points (2g, 8a), while Connor Robinson lead the goal-scoring charge with five (5g, 1a). Eli McLaughlin (3g, 3a), Jordan Gilles (2g, 2a), Chris Wardle (1g, 4a), Zed Williams (1g, 2a) and Tyson Gibson (1g, 1a) rounded out offensive efforts in one of the franchise’s most satisfying postseason victories. After allowing Calgary forward Curtis Dickson to rack up six goals the weekend prior, Colorado’s defensive unit limited Dickson to six helpers (0g, 6a), while Jesse King (3g, 3a),

Mammoth Postseason League-Leaders:

As the result of Colorado’s explosive 16-goal performance against the Roughnecks, Robinson’s five goals rank first in the NLL, while Lee’s eight helpers also pace the field approaching the Mammoth’s Friday night matchup at Pechanga Arena and join several other individual stat leaders, including:

Goals: 5 (1st) Connor Robinson

Assists: 8 (1st) Ryan Lee

Points: 10 (1st) Ryan Lee

Points-Per-Game: 10 (1st) Ryan Lee

Shots on Goal: 13 (T2nd) Connor Robinson

Loose Balls: 10 (T6th) Tim Edwards, Robert Hope

Caused Turnovers: 3 (T2nd) Joey Cupido

*All rankings updated through NLL Quarterfinals 

Get in the Game

Game 1 of the West Conference Finals in San Diego this weekend can be viewed on ESPNU or streamed live via ESPN+. Tickets for Game 2 of the West Conference Finals (hosted at THE LOUD HOUSE!) on Saturday, May 21 are on sale now!

 

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