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Mammoth Return to LOUD HOUSE for Second-Ever Showdown with Riptide

COLORADO MAMMOTH (3-7) VS. NEW YORK RIPTIDE (5-5)
FRI. FEB. 23 | 7 P.M. MT | BALL ARENA
ALT 2 TV | ESPN+

DENVER – Completing its four-game road trip with a 1-3 record last weekend by dropping a close 13-11 final to the league’s top-ranked Albany FireWolves, the Colorado Mammoth are set to bring a 3-6 record into Friday night’s showdown with the (5-5) New York Riptide. North of the 10-goal mark for the second-straight game, the Mammoth showed some resilience in battling back after a bit of a slow start, suddenly tied at 8 per side at the end of the third quarter.

While each of Brett Craig, Conner Kelly and Tyson Gibson were able to log fourth-quarter tallies for the good guys, Albany outscored Colorado 5-3 throughout the final 15, eventually capturing the two-goal lead while the Mammoth picked up its seventh loss of the season.

Set to return home for the first time in 34 days Friday night for the organization’s second-ever showdown against the Riptide, Colorado will look to press the reset button inside the LOUD HOUSE, where the team has established a 2-2 record so far this season. Having dropped just two contests at Ball Arena each of the past two seasons, Mammoth fans should expect a bounce back performance from McLaughlin and company as Colorado prepares to host one of the league’s current MVP favorites in Jeff Teat and friends during Colorado’s 11th showdown of the season.

Friday’s dual-contest performance is also set to feature dozens of our friends from Rocky Mountain Pro Wrestling, with fans invited to stick around after the lacrosse is over to witness a thrilling battle royal showdown! With a dramatic appearance for Wooly on the docket once again, with some possibly buy-in from Mammoth players and staff members themselves, this one is going to be worth sticking around for!

While the team will continue to operate as the New York Riptide for the remainder of the season, the NLL and east-coast organization yesterday announced the franchise would relocate to Ottawa next season (2024-25) as the team prepares to transition to the Ottawa Black Bears. But for now, the team will look to improve on its 5-5 record, which includes a 4-1 mark throughout the team’s past five games.

New York is also one of eight teams currently included in the league’s postseason picture, albeit as the lowest-ranked five-win team and sitting at No. 7 overall. Sitting atop the standings are the Mammoth’s opponent from last week, the (7-2) Albany FireWolves. And after seeing the (7-2) Toronto Rock pick up a big victory over the Riptide last weekend as the two teams met out east within the lacrosse-forward city of Montreal, Quebec, the Rock sit in the No. 2 spot courtesy of its impressive 7-2 start. As the weekend progresses, the Rock should be able to take care of business against the (2-7) Vancouver Warriors, while the Thunderbirds may have a bit more on their hands during a Saturday night showdown with the trending (3-4) Saskatchewan Rush.

From there, three teams sit tied with six wins a piece, as the (6-3) San Diego Seals have one game in hand over both the (6-4) Halifax Thunderbirds and (6-4) Georgia Swarm. But once the Week 13 slate is in the books, that mix will look a bit different as the No. 3 Seals and No. 4 Swarm are set to face off following Colorado and New York’s showdown on Friday night. Set to play in a second game in the same weekend, Georgia will look to make it two in a row Sunday afternoon against the final playoff holder as things sit right now, (4-4) Panther City Lacrosse Club.

The Battle of New York is also primed to reveal some truths, as the top-ranked FireWolves are preparing to clash with the (5-4) Buffalo Bandits, who are in the No. 6 spot just nine games into their season.

While Colorado is obviously in win-now mode, needing to capture at least six of its final eight games, and possibly even seven, depending on how the remainder of the standings shake out, the (3-7) Mammoth currently occupy the No. 14 spot. But with the (4-5) Calgary Roughnecks inching closer to the .500 mark and four other three-win teams ranking higher than the burgundy boys in the (3-4) Rush, (3-5) Philadelphia Wings, (3-5) Rochester Knighthawks and (3-6) Las Vegas Desert Dogs. Long story short, the boys NEED this one, and will look to take advantage of a squad who not only recently traversed a trip into far east Canada, but one who was met with the shock of rebranding just 72 hours before this weekend’s faceoff!

Representing the first of eight Week 13 games and the first of two contests scheduled for Friday night, with Colorado and New York sharing the slate spotlight with both the San Diego Seals and Georgia Swarm, the two talent-heavy teams are set to meet for the second-ever time in NLL history.

Friday night’s showdown against the Riptide is set to begin at 7 p.m. MT inside Ball Arena, thus representing Colorado’s fifth home contest of the season and first of a two-game homestand. Fans can catch the team’s 11th showdown of the year via Altitude TV 2, stream the matchup live on ESPN+ and stay tuned to coloradomammoth.com and Colorado Mammoth social media channels for game highlights, postgame recaps and beyond!

Last Time They Met

When the teams last met (which was technically the first time in NLL history), Colorado was able to secure a key 10-7 victory during the fifth-ever instance of Monday Night Lacrosse. Having just beaten the Buffalo Bandits two nights prior, a recharged Mammoth squad returned to the LOUD HOUSE to take care of business once again. Featuring a team-high six points (1g, 5a) from forward Ryan Lee, it was a five-point (4g, 1a) night from Mammoth forward Eli McLaughlin that may have single-handedly earned Colorado the win, as Liger was firing on all cylinders in this one.

Spreading out the scoring efforts rather evenly en route to getting another W during the NLL Championship-earning campaign, Connor Robinson (2g, 1a) rounded out the primary scoring efforts, while goaltender Dillon Ward and forward Dylan Kinnear and Tyson Gibson each notched two assists (0g, 2a). Ward also stopped 35-of-42 on the night throughout a complete 60 minutes in net.

Leading the Way

Captain Robert Hope has been a leader for quite some time within the organization, but as he brings 16 blocked shots into this weekend’s showdown with the Riptide, the total represents a league-high mark as the defender hasn’t been afraid to serve as the first wall of opposition while aiding goaltender Dillon Ward whenever possible. While both Paul Dawson and Warren Jeffrey have amassed 11, averaging one blocked shot per game, Hope has racked up five more in the same number of appearances, which only add to the veteran’s team-high 16 caused turnovers. Unafraid to swing the stick and cause chaos while being more than happy to soak a heater or two, Hope has been the ultimate teammate on the back end, which is pretty typical for the standout defender. Where he’s noticeably changed his role this season is in the transition game, as the talent has notched a team-defenseman-high nine points (0g, 9a) as he’s gotten the legs moving and kept his eyes down the floor more regularly. Just four points from tying his career-best of 13 points (1g, 12a), he joins the following players in leading the charge so far, including:

Points: 53 (Eli McLaughlin)

Goals: 23 (Connor Kelly, Eli McLaughlin)

Assists: 30 (Eli McLaughlin)

Loose Balls: 72 (Robert Hope)

Caused Turnovers: 16 (Robert Hope)

Penalty Minutes: 29 (Paul Dawson)

Blocked Shots: 16 (Robert Hope)

Faceoff Wins: 144 (Tim Edwards)

Consistency is Key

It’s easy to take elite talents like Eli McLaughlin for granted sometimes because we just get used to his heroics to a certain extent. But after seeing Liger record another six-point (3g, 3a) game last weekend in Albany on his way to recording his fourth hat-trick of the season, it’s a reminder of how grateful we have to be as spectators to witness such greatness. Continuing to extend his franchise-leading goal total, he’s quickly approaching both the 250-goal mark and 300-assist mark while also climbing to within five points of his 550th all-time. Racking up three goals against the FireWolves, his performance marked the eighth instance this season in which the forward has notched at least two goals in a contest as he continues to put the team on his back. Tied with Connor Kelly at 23 tallies overall, the Loudermilk lookalike continues to regularly show up on the scoresheet as one of five players to have managed at least one point in each game played, including:

Eli McLaughlin: (2g, 3a), (1g, 2a), (2g, 2a), (3g, 2a), (3g, 3a), (2g, 4a), (5g, 5a), (0g, 3a), (2g, 3a), (3g, 3a) = 53 points (23g, 30a)

Connor Kelly: (3g, 2a), (2g, 1a), (3g, 1a), (1g, 2a), (4g, 0a), (1g, 1a), (3g, 0a), (4g, 4a), (2g, 3a) = 37 points (23g, 14a)

Connor Robinson: (0g, 2a), (3g, 0a), (4g, 3a), (0g, 1a), (2g, 3a), (0g, 6a), (1g, 4a), (0g, 1a), (0g, 4a), (1g, 0a) = 35 points (11g, 24a)

Tyson Gibson: (1g, 4a), (1g, 2a), (2g, 1a), (0g, 2a), (0g, 2a), (1g, 0a), (2g, 3a), (1g, 1a), (2g, 3a), (2g, 1a) = 31 points (12g, 19a)

Zed Williams: (0g, 1a), (2g, 4a), (1g, 1a), (1g, 2a), (1g, 1a), (2g, 1a), (2g, 0a), (3g, 2a), (2g, 2a) = 28 points (14g, 14a)

Evan Downey: (0g, 1a) = 1 point (0g, 1a)

Wavy and Navy

At 5-5 overall, including a 4-1 record throughout its past five games after enduing a tough start to the season, a lot can be said for the Riptide, who find themselves ranked right in the middle of the league’s standings. Having assembled a quality four-game win streak prior to dropping its most recent showdown to the Toronto Rock, 16-10, the Riptide will look to maintain their current playoff-worthy status by getting back into the win column Friday night. Arguably the frontrunner for the league’s MVP honors as things sit heading into Week 13, the youngster has demonstrated his ability to operate in any and all roles, but tends to excel when the ball is in his stick, as he wields once of the fiercest and most accurate shots in all of lacrosse.

Next up on the scoring charts come a pair of contributors in Connor Kearnan (17g, 32a) and Reilly O’Connor (9g, 36a), who have done a great job in finding Teat when needed. Although the duo is separated by just four points overall, it’s Kearnan who has been a bit more of a threat with his wheels and shiftiness, while O’Connor has been a dishing specialist, thus leading the team with 36 helpers (ranked tied for the fifth-most among all NLL players). With Keil Matisz (14g, 21a) and Larson Sundown (14g, 13a) representing the final riptide players to earn more than 20 points, the team will look to spread the ball out more than normally Friday night if they hope to solve Mammoth goaltender Dillon Ward and his patented high-arc approach.

While the squad features a variety of established veteran players and up-and-coming prospective talents, Mammoth fans will recognize a familiar face in back-ender Ron John suiting up for the away team this weekend. A former Mammoth player and NLL Entry Draft selection, John was sent to the Riptide alongside Tyler Digby and a first-round selection during Colorado’s championship-capturing season in exchange for forward Tyson Gibson. Cameron Dunkerley, who’s been in net for all but seven minutes of the season, is expected to get the nod for the Riptide as he goes head to head with Ward for the first time in his career.

Get in the Game

Mammoth games can be viewed on Altitude TV and streamed live via ESPN+. Friday’s Feb. 23 matchup against the New York Riptide can be viewed locally on Altitude TV and streamed live on ESPN+. Mammoth fans can keep an eye on the team’s social media channels and coloradomammoth.com for the latest news, transactions and organizational updates throughout the 2023-24 NLL season.

Limited tickets for Colorado’s RUMBLE at the LOUD HOUSE matchup against the New York Riptide at Ball Arena remain available! Featuring opportunities to interact with and receive autographs from the great D-Von Dudley (formerly of the WWE’s Dudley Boys), a postgame match featuring dozens of our friends from Rocky Mountain Pro Wrestling and endless interactive fun, be sure to grab your tickets and get ready to RUMBLE AT THE LOUD HOUSE!

 

Colorado Mammoth Pro Lacrosse Team