After securing victories in three of the team’s first four matchups by capturing wins over the Georgia Swarm, Panther City Lacrosse Club and Vancouver Warriors, the Colorado Mammoth continued its hot start to the 2021-22 season by picking up its fourth victory of the campaign Jan. 29 during a 9-4 contest hosting Vancouver at Ball Arena.
Entering the weekend with a 4-1 record and sitting in second place of the NLL’s Western Conference, the Mammoth prepares to host another longtime rival in the Calgary Roughnecks, who have endured a “rough” start to the season, compiling a 1-3 record through four games.
Coming off a troubling 13-10 loss to the San Diego Seals in Week 9, Calgary hasn’t found a consistent offensive formula yet, having posted impressive goal-scoring streaks in several of its recent games (five of the first six goals last weekend against the Seals), but failing to convert goals for long periods of time, including logging its final goal of the match at the 1:31 mark of the third (failing to score in the contest’s last 28 minutes). While Seals’ netminder Frank Scigliano has had an encouraging start to the season and provided solid goaltending in that Jan. 29 game, the Roughnecks seemed to have him solved in the first half, but notched just one goal in the second. Calgary will need to revisit its offensive approach before visiting Dillon Ward and the Colorado Mammoth defense this weekend.
Lacrosse Out Cancer Game Returns to Ball Arena:
After picking up its first home victory of the year, the Mammoth will return to a rowdy Ball Arena crowd Feb. 5 to celebrate the battles, warriors and lives affected by cancer during its 11th annual Lacrosse Out Cancer game, presented by Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. The evening is slated to feature a number of celebratory elements, player dedication videos and a landmark presentation involving RMHC and KSE’s 10th anniversary of partnership in supporting the unique, annual occasion.
Game-worn, autographed jerseys from Saturday’s game will be available for auction bidding at kse.givesmart.com during the week of Feb. 7 with proceeds benefitting local organizations and nonprofits specializing in cancer research and patient care.
Mammoth fans will be able to stream Saturday’s Lacrosse Out Cancer matchup, and all Mammoth games this season, on ESPN+! This weekend’s matchup will also air locally on Altitude TV.
Returning to play after spending consecutive bye weeks resting and preparing for its rematch with the Vancouver Warriors, Colorado hosted a Western Conference foe at Ball Arena during its last match. Recording its third-consecutive and fourth overall victory on the year, Colorado got out to a fiery start and never looked back, securing a 9-4 victory in front of a packed Loud House crowd during Jan. 29’s beach party matchup.
After spotting the Warriors a 7-0 lead the last time the teams met, just two weeks prior, Colorado dominated the contest, outscoring Vancouver 6-1 in the first half and limiting the opposition to a season-low four goals as Dillon Ward returned to All-Star form, stopping 41-of-45 shots on the evening.
Ryan Lee paced the team with seven points (4g, 3a) in Saturday’s win, while Connor Robinson (2g, 4a), Eli McLaughlin (1g, 3a), Chris Wardle (1g, 3a) and Zed Williams (1g, 1a) rounded out Colorado’s top scoring efforts. Robert Hope (11) paced Colorado’s loose ball charge on a night Joey Cupido (5) surpassed longtime Mammoth defenseman John Gallant as the franchise’s all-time loose ball leader.
Ryan Lee & The Consisten-Zs:
In five games with Colorado this season, forward Ryan Lee ranks among league-leaders in several categories, providing consistent scoring as a distributer and finisher alike. The RIT product’s 6.8 points-per-game currently rank as the second highest average in the NLL among players who’ve competed in five or more contests this season, including NLL stars:
Dhane Smith: 7 PPG
Ryan Lee: 6.8 PPG
Callum Crawford: 6.5 PPG
Lyle Thompson: 5.8 PPG
Kevin Crowley: 5.25 PPG
Having logged a combined 19 points (6g, 13a) in his last two appearances headlining the Mammoth scoring attack, Lee has established a balanced workload of attacking in space and distributing to his teammates under Assistant Coach Jason Bishop’s offensive approach. His 34 points (14g, 20a) rank tied for fifth-most in the NLL and second most among players who have played five games this season. Most importantly to the Mammoth offense, Lee has recorded at least one goal in each game this season and has paced the team in scoring efforts in four of five contests. His seven points (4g, 3a) last week qualifies him as one of five Mammoth players to record one or more points in each game this season, including:
Ryan Lee (5g, 3a), (1g, 1a), (2g, 3a), (2g, 10a), (4g, 3a) = (14g, 20a)
Eli McLaughlin (3g, 3a), (1g, 2a), (1g, 3a), (3g, 4a), (1g, 3a) = (9g, 15a)
Chris Wardle (1g, 4a), (0g, 1a), (0g, 2a), (2g, 4a), (1g, 3a) = (4g, 14a)
Zed Williams (2g, 1a) (0g, 2a), (1g, 1a), (1g, 1a) = (4g, 5a)
Sam LeClair (3g, 0a), (3g, 1a), (0g, 1a) = (6g, 1a)
The Mammoth enters Week 10 having recorded a combined 66 penalty minutes in five games, which represents the fourth-least among NLL teams and qualifies for the fifth-lowest average per game (13.20 PIM-per-game). Staying physical and defensively sound during its man-down opportunities, Colorado continues to defend its league-best penalty-killing unit after effectively killing 18-of-22 man-down scenarios. The Mammoth roster features a handful of individual statistic leaders who have made early contributions for the organization and find themselves ranked among league-leaders in several categories, including:
Goals: 14 (T5th) Ryan Lee
Assists: 20 (T9th) Ryan Lee
Points: 34 (T5th) Ryan Lee
Points-Per-Game: 6.80 (2nd) Ryan Lee
Loose Balls: 48 (12th) Robert Hope
Shorthanded Goals: 2 (T2nd) Connor Robinson
Shorthanded Assists: 2 (T1st) Robert Hope, Chris Wardle
Game-Winning Goals: 2 (T1st) Eli McLaughlin
*All stats updated through Week 9 of NLL play
Not Your Father’s Calgary Roughnecks:
Since the departure of veteran forward Dane Dobbie in the team’s extended offseason, the Calgary Roughnecks have endured a 1-3 start to their 2021-22 campaign and in four games, only two players have amassed double-digit point totals for the organization.
After dropping a 16-9 decision during Faceoff Weekend Dec. 4, Calgary captured its sole victory of the year in its next matchup, securing an 11-10 road victory against the Saskatchewan Rush. Since hosting the San Diego Seals Dec. 17 (17-12 L), the Roughnecks have only played in one game, coming in the form of a second loss to San Diego last weekend (13-10 L), as the team has battled some scheduling conflicts this season. Despite leading the Seals 6-2 at halftime during its most recent game, the Roughnecks shifted into defensive mode while allowing San Diego to mount a comeback for its fifth victory of the season. Heading into Week 10, Calgary sits in fifth place of the Western Conference and ranks 12th overall amongst NLL teams.
Beginning its season with four of five contests on the road, a large part of the team’s woes this season revolve around a lack of consistency on both ends of the floor, allowing teams to go on streaks of scoring and failing to record goals of their own for extended periods of gametime. Through its four contests, Calgary has been outscored 42-56, yet the Roughnecks’ power-play unit ranks third-best in the NLL through Week 9, having converted on 11-of-23 opportunities. A disciplined team defensively, the Mammoth will look to limit its penalty count Saturday in hopes of keeping the extra-man unit off the turf at Ball Arena.
That power-play group, and the team’s overall goal-scoring effort this season, is headlined by veteran forward Curtis Dickson, who’s notched a team-high 11 goals (4 power-play goals) and recorded a team second-best 17 points (11g, 6a) for the Roughnecks. Forward Jesse King leads the team in points (22) and assists (18) while also ranking second in the team’s loose ball charge with 27.
As the result of an ever-changing lineup for Calgary this season due to injury, Covid Protocol availability and beyond, the Roughnecks roster features five forwards who’ve played between two to four games with the team and recorded between seven to nine points, in Dan Taylor (2g, 7a in 3GP), Tyler Pace (5g, 4a in 2GP), Tanner Cook (3g, 5a in 4 GP), Haiden Dickson (5g, 3a in 4 GP) and Zach Herreweyers (3g, 4a in 7 GP).
Zach Currier paces Calgary with 58 loose balls, seven caused turnovers and 42 faceoff wins, though the transition player has split time in the circle this season with defensemen Reece Callies (10-for-21) and Tyler Burton (7-for-23).
The goaltending situation for the Roughnecks can be described as the exact opposite of a timeshare, as netminder Christian Del Bianco has logged all but 20 seconds of time on floor with the club this year. The Coquitlam product typically sits alongside NLL goaltending leaders in several categories, but has gotten off to a slow start with Calgary this year as the result of inconsistent play from the rest of the squad. Del Bianco brings a 14.02 goals-against average and .720 save percentage into Saturday’s matchup, having recorded 144 saves in four appearances.
Calgary’s defense will need to regroup and devise a plan for addressing Ryan Lee and the streaking Mammoth offense, while its own scoring squad will look to solve Dillon Ward and Colorado’s aggressive defense.
Get in the Game
Tickets to Colorado’s Feb. 5 Lacrosse Out Cancer matchup against the Calgary Roughnecks, and all Mammoth home games, can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com. Mammoth road games can be viewed on Altitude TV and streamed live via ESPN+.