COLORADO MAMMOTH (9-9, 2-1) VS. CALGARY ROUGHNECKS (13-5, 2-1)
SAT MAY 20 | SCOTIABANK SADDLEDOME
7:30 P.M. MT FACEOFF
ALT 2 TV | ESPN+
After picking up a huge 8-7 victory over the Calgary Roughnecks last week inside the Loud House, the Mammoth went on to drop a tight 13-12 contest to the gray and black squad two nights later. Able to defend its home turf successfully, Calgary forced a winner takes all Game 3 between the familiar foes, set to take place inside Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday evening.
Despite getting on the board first, courtesy of a Connor Robinson strike seven minutes in, Colorado would log just three goals in the opening 30 minutes of play, with defenseman Warren Jeffrey (12:13, First quarter) and forward Zed Williams (11:41) chipping in the other two tallies. Calgary, however, was able to light the lamp five times, seeing goals from Shane Simpson, Jesse King, Dan Taylor, Tyler Pace and Tanner Cook cash in to give the home team a 5-3 advantage at the break.
RELATED: Mammoth drop close 13-12 matchup in Game 2 of West Conference Finals
Building on the rather tame opening half of play, Calgary came out of the pause via an early third-quarter strike from Pace, but Williams was able to provide an answer just over a minute later. Eventually bringing a 9-6 lead into the final 15, after seeing the squad exchange blows, including conversions from Williams, Eli McLaughlin and Dylan Kinnear from Colorado and Dan Taylor, Josh Currier and Zach Currier, things got interesting for the West’s No. 2 seed as the fourth quarter began.
Finding twine four times within the first six minutes of action, (Robinson x2, McLaughlin and Chris Wardle) the Mammoth offense came alive with the pressure on, and with a pair of scores from King and Cook in the opening three minutes, Colorado had no choice other than to stay hungry. Seeing Pace and Cook double down with another dual-threat series of goals, the Mammoth found themselves down three with just over three minutes remaining in the contest.
Drawing into the lineup for the first time this postseason, sophomore forward Brett McIntyre recorded his first playoff goal of the run with two minutes to play. Building the suspense even further, Williams completed a late-game hat trick 26 seconds later, now within one. Despite an epic comeback effort, the defending champs came up just short, eventually dropping the bout 13-12 in enemy territory.
Connor Robinson paced Mammoth scorers with seven points (3g, 4a), while Ryan Lee (0g, 6a), Eli McLaughlin (2g, 3a) and Zed Williams (3g, 1a) rounded out primary scoring efforts for Colorado. Chris Wardle (1g, 2a), Dylan Kinnear (1g, 1a), Brett McIntyre (1g, 1a) and Warren Jeffrey (1g, 0a) also found the scoresheet, while goaltender Dillon Ward stopped 37-of-50.
On the opposite end of the floor, Jesse King set the tone for Calgary, via his eight-point (2g, 6a) performance, while Tyler Pace (3g, 4a), Haiden Dickson (0g, 4a) and Tanner Cook (3g, 1a) and Dan Taylor (2g, 0a) did the heavy lifting for Calgary. Josh Currier (1g, 1a), Zach Currier (1g, 1a) and Shane Simpson (1g, 1a) each chimed in with tallies of their own, while netminder Christian Del Bianco allowed 12 goals on 44 attempts.
For the second game in a row, the Mammoth did not make any roster transactions ahead of Thursday’s matchup, but saw the Calgary Roughnecks move forward Tyler Pace to the Active Roster from the Short Term Holdout List. In a corresponding move, Calgary placed Zach Herreweyers on the Practice Player List. With a few bruises suffered on each side, Mammoth fans can stay tuned to coloradomammoth.com, the team’s social media channels and NLL.com’s transaction page for the team’s latest transactions, news and beyond heading into Saturday’s Game 3 showdown with the Roughnecks.
Saturday’s Game 3 of the West Conference Finals in Calgary represents the third of three postseason matchups scheduled against the Roughnecks, as well as the sixth overall contest to take place between the two West Conference rivals during the 2022-23 slate. It will also represent the fourth of six competitions to take place inside Scotiabank Saddledome.
The West Conference Finals meeting is slated to begin at 7:30 p.m. MT and can be viewed on Altitude 2 TV and ESPN+.
Consistency is Key
If there’s ever a time to ensure you’re regularly showing up on the scoresheet, it’s the postseason, and so far, the team’s top scoring threats have done just that. With the exception of Ryan Lee, who’s stepped right back into his quarterbacking role, the team’s goal-scoring leaders have effectively spread the load. With each of Williams, Robinson and McLaughlin mirroring each other in total points, their individual stats are nearly 1:1, with Robinson needing one more goal to even things out.
In short, the team hasn’t had to funnel its offensive sets through any one player, making it harder for opposing defensive units to key in and factor one of them out of the ballgame. While Lee has only scored in one of the three games, he went off for four goals amongst his game-best nine points (4g, 5a). In corresponding fashion, that was the only game in which any of the three (Robinson, Williams, McLaughlin) didn’t log a goal, with Robinson’s one-point (0g, 1a) performance representing the lone occurrence.
Williams and McLaughlin have managed to fine twine in all three games, and with each of the three matchups ending with one-goal deficits, the Mammoth will need their magician to pull out his best tricks of the season if they want to beat Calgary in its own barn. Robinson represents one of six Mammoth players who have logged at least one point in both contests, including:
Ryan Lee (4g, 5a), (0g, 4a), (0g, 6a) = 19 points (4g, 15a)
Eli McLaughlin (4g, 2a), (1g, 2a), (2g, 3a) = 14 points (7g, 7a)
Connor Robinson (0g, 1a), (3g, 2a), (3g, 4a) = 13 points (6g, 7a)
Zed Williams (2g, 3a), (1g, 2a), (3g, 1a) = 12 points (6g, 6a)
Chris Wardle (1g, 0a), (2g, 0a), (1g, 2a) = 6 points (4g, 2a)
Brett McIntyre (1g, 1a) = 2 points (1g, 1a)
Get in the Game
Mammoth games can be viewed on Altitude TV and streamed live via ESPN+. Saturday’s game against the Calgary Roughnecks can be viewed on Altitude 2 TV and ESPN+. Mammoth fans can keep an eye on coloradomammoth.com and the team’s social media channels for the latest news, transactions and organizational updates throughout the 2022-23 NLL season.
Should the Mammoth advance to the NLL Finals by defeating the Roughnecks Saturday night, Mammoth fans can stay tuned to coloradomammoth.com and Colorado Mammoth social media channels for the latest on ticket announcements, NLL Finals scheduling and everything concerning the 2023 NLL Playoffs.