After securing consecutive home victories against the San Diego Seals Feb. 15 and Philadelphia Wings Feb. 29, the Mammoth will host the Rochester Knighthawks for a 5 p.m. Sunday Funday matchup at The Loud House. Colorado’s 11-10 victory over the Wings represented one-of-four one-goal games in Week 14 as teams continue to put their best effort forward as the 2020 NLL Playoffs quickly approach.
Heading into a Week 15 slate of games which features all 13 of the NLL’s teams, Colorado will face off with Rochester during the team’s third contest of a four-game homestand. The matchup against the Knighthawks represents the lone regular season game between the cross-divisional opponents. Fans can watch Sunday’s matchup against Rochester locally on Altitude TV or stream the game live via Bleacher Report Live.
Home Sweet Home
Following Colorado’s most recent matchup at Pepsi Center Feb. 29, the Mammoth have played seven of its first 12 games away from Pepsi Center, allowing Colorado to close out the season hosting four of its final six remaining games and providing several opportunities for Mammoth fans to get The Loud House rocking as the team makes a push for playoffs.
The Mammoth head into Sunday’s contest as one of only five teams to have completed 12 games through the league’s first 14 weeks of action, joining the Philadelphia Wings, Vancouver Warriors, San Diego Seals and New York Riptide as the league’s teams to get after it early and often.
Colorado will look to improve on its 3-2 record at Pepsi Center this season behind the energetic support of its fans during an entertaining 5 p.m. Sunday Funday matchup. Fans will be able to enjoy the energetic afternoon vibes and $4.50 beers at the Mammoth Pre-Game Tailgate before taking advantage of the recently reduced concession prices throughout Pepsi Center as the Mammoth look to make it three in a row against Rochester Sunday.
After securing its second win of the season during a 13-12 victory over the New York Riptide last weekend, Rochester brings a 2-8 record to Pepsi Center Sunday, including a five-game road winless streak. Despite the slow start to the season, the Knighthawks have been involved in five one-goal games and holds a 2-3 record in those contests.
Rochester dropped its first four games of the season, falling to the Georgia Swarm (14-4), Halifax Thunderbirds (14-12) and twice to the Toronto Rock (14-11, 13-12) before picking up its first win of the season during a 13-12 victory over the Calgary Roughnecks. The Knighthawks went on to drop its next four games to the Philadelphia Wings (12-4), Buffalo Bandits (16-15), Vancouver Warriors (11-10) and New England Black Wolves (18-7) before picking up its second win of the season last weekend against the New York Riptide (13-12).
In the team’s first 10 games, Rochester’s opponents have posted double-digit point totals in each of the contests, while Rochester’s 11 goals allowed to Vancouver Feb. 9 mark the team’s best defensive effort this season.
The Knighthawks’ offense is led by former 2016 NLL Entry Draft first-round selection Holden Cattoni through the team’s first 10 contests. The forward leads the team in several offensive categories, including goals (22), assists (35) and points (57), while chipping in a team third-best 54 loose balls.
Cattoni’s 160 shots and 100 shots on goal also lead the team, while the forward ranks among league-leaders in the following categories:
Goals: 22 (T10th)
Assists: 35 (8th)
Points: 57 (T5th)
Power-Play Assists: 10 (T9th)
Shots: 160 (7th)
Shots on Goal: 100 (T10th)
Currently on the Knighthawks’ Injured Reserve List, Shawn Evans ranks second in team scoring with 43 points (14g, 29a), while the veteran forward’s 31 penalty minutes are good for fourth in the league.
Curtis Knight (13g, 21a), Phil Caputo (14g, 11a) and Turner Evans (8g, 15a) round out Rochester’s top offensive threats. After recently trading Dan Lintner to the Buffalo Bandits, the Knighthawks’ roster currently features only six players who have accumulated double-digit point totals through 10 games, with transition player Cory Highfield’s 11 points (7g, 4a) qualifying as the final member of the mentioned group.
Rochester’s second overall draft selection in the 2019 NLL Entry Draft, Ryland Rees, leads the team with 62 LBs and has recorded six points (3g, 3a) in his rookie season with the Knighthawks. Defenseman Matthew Bennett has accumulated eight points (1g, 7a) and 51 loose balls while pacing Rochester with 14 caused turnovers.
The Knighthawks have struggled with faceoff wins this season, ranking 10th in the league with a .399 win percentage, partly in due to its mix of personnel at the faceoff position. Rochester produced a combined 111-276 faceoff success rate, with Jay Thorimbert wining 50-of-96, Chris Willman securing 36-of-90 and Dylan Evans adding 25-of-90.
Fielding another trio of personnel at the goaltender position, Rochester currently rosters three netminders on its active roster. Rylan Hartley has started the last three games for the Knighthawks and has logged a 1-2 record in four games played, while accumulating a 12.80 goals-against average and .791 save percentage. The young goaltender stopped 49-of-61 last weekend against the New York Riptide to pick up his first professional victory. Craig Wende owns a 1-3 record in six games played along with his 13.34 goals-against average and .772 save percentage. Former Mammoth goaltender Steve Fryer split some of the team’s early-season work with Wende and has recorded an 0-3 record amongst a 13.99 goals-against average and .747 save percentage.
Sitting in fourth place of the North Division, Rochester has regularly found itself in two situations: trailing and inside the penalty box. With a roster featuring six players who have racked up double-digit point totals (31, 20, 18, 14, 14, 12), the Knighthawks have combined for 167 penalty minutes in 10 contests, averaging 16.7 penalty minutes per game (2nd most in the NLL) while ranking third in overall penalty minutes. Facing a Colorado power-play that operates at a league-best 76.9 percent success rate at home and 54.8 percent overall (ranked 3rd in the NLL), Rochester would be wise to bring a disciplined effort to The Loud House Sunday.
Colorado continues to distribute the offensive load among its talented roster of forwards and transition players this season, while relying on its sound defensive effort and efficient power-play unit.
Following his sixth-consecutive three-plus-point performance (4g, 3a) during Colorado’s last matchup against Philadelphia, Ryan Lee (22g, 34a) continues to dominate offensively and paces the Mammoth in points, goals and assists through Colorado’s first 12 contests. In his third professional season with the Mammoth, Lee is four points from surpassing his previous career-high season point total of 59 as the forward has accumulated 56 points in 12 games so far. After logging four goals Saturday, the forward became one of five NLL players currently riding a 10-plus game goal streak and will look to extend the impressive feat Sunday against the Knighthawks.
After logging his tenth-consecutive three-plus-point outing (0g, 3a) against the Wings Feb. 29, Eli McLaughlin (14g, 33a) trails forward Ryan Lee by nine points for the team lead despite only logging 10 games to Lee’s 12 and continues to lead Mammoth players with 4.70 points-per-game.
Chris Wardle’s five-point-performance (1g, 4a) brings the forward to a career-best 45 points (16g, 29a) on the season as the sixth-year veteran continues to provide consistent scoring for the Mammoth.
Jacob Ruest (17g, 12a) and Kyle Killen (6g, 14a) have solidified depth scoring for the Mammoth, as Joey Cupido’s 16 points (7g, 9a) rank tied for fifth in the league among transition players, while his three short-handed goals remain tied for first in the NLL through Week 14.
After recording six loose balls against Philadelphia, Veteran Defenseman Robert Hope is one of four NLL players to have recorded triple-digit loose ball counts this season and continues to lead Colorado in the category while joining the noted Mammoth players among the league’s leaders in several categories:
Goals: Ryan Lee, 22 (T10th)
Assists: Ryan Lee, 34 (T9th)
Points: Ryan Lee, 56 (7th)
Power-Play Goals: Ryan Lee, 6 (T8th)
Power-Play Assists: Ryan Lee/Eli McLaughlin, 10 (T9th)
Short-Handed Goals: Joey Cupido, 3 (T1st)
Loose Balls: Robert Hope, 107 (3rd)
Saves: Dillon Ward, 513 (1st)
Save Percentage: Dillon Ward, .821% (2nd—1st among G w/ 12 GP)
Goals Against Average: Dillon Ward, 9.33 (3rd—1st among G w/ 12 GP)
Goaltender Minutes: Dillon Ward, 720:30 (1st)
Dylan Kinnear, Colorado’s third-round pick (39th overall) in the 2019 NLL Entry Draft, recorded four points (2g, 2a) in Colorado’s victory over Philadelphia, including a game-tying goal heading into halftime and his second nine minutes into the third period to give the Mammoth its first two-goal lead of the contest. The two-goal performance marks the rookie’s fourth time accomplishing the feat in his last five games. The first-year forward added an assist on an early opening-session marker from Ryan Lee and connected with Lee again early in the fourth quarter to give the rookie 17 points (9g, 8a) in nine games.
Defenseman Brett Craig logged 16:59 of floor time and two loose balls during the rookie’s fourth-consecutive start and joins his fellow first-year players in ranking among league-leading rookies:
Goals: Dylan Kinnear, 9 (T4th)
Assists: Dylan Kinnear, 8 (T7th)
Points: Dylan Kinnear, 17 (6th)
Power-Play Goals: Will Malcom/Jake McNabb, 1 (T6th)
Loose Balls: Brett Craig, 44 (T13th)
Caused Turnovers: Warren Jeffrey, 5 (T12th)
Shots: Will Malcom, 43 (6th)
Shots on Goal: Will Malcom/Dylan Kinnear, 27 (T7th)
Shot Percentage: Brett Craig, .286% (9th)
Consistency is Key
The Mammoth continue to produce on both ends of the floor, executing a pass-first mentality and demonstrating unselfish play through the team’s first 12 contests. Consistent performances from forwards and defenders alike continue to fuel Colorado’s competitive contests while disciplined play continues to support the Mammoth’s special teams’ success.
While the Mammoth have enjoyed spreading the offensive workload, at least one Colorado player has produced a hat trick in nine-of-12 contests this season, including three-plus goal performances by Jacob Ruest (3g, 2a) Nov. 29, Jacob Ruest (5g, 2a) Dec. 28, Joey Cupido (3g, 2a) Jan. 4, Ryan Lee (3g, 2a) Jan. 11, Chris Wardle (5g) and Eli McLaughlin (3g, 4a) Jan. 18, Ryan Lee (5g, 0a) Jan. 25, Eli McLaughlin (3g, 2a) Feb. 1, Eli McLaughlin (3g, 2a) Feb. 8 and most recently Ryan Lee (4g, 3a) during last weekend’s 11-10 victory over the Philadelphia Wings.
Several Mammoth players continue to contribute points each game, as seven forwards continue to hold active point streaks this season:
Ryan Lee: (3-3-8-3-5-2-7-5-4-3-6-7)
Jacob Ruest: (5-2-7-1-2-1-1-4-1-2-1-2)
Chris Wardle: (2-3-6-2-4-2-5-8-3-2-3-5)
Eli McLaughlin: (5-4-4-3-7-7-5-5-4-3)
Kyle Killen: (2-3-3-1-3-3-3-2-1)
Dylan Kinnear: (2-2-2-2-3-4)
Jeff Wittig: (1-1-3-2-1)
On the flip side, defenders and transition players continue to rack up stellar loose ball counts, with the following consistently leading the scoop charge thus far:
Robert Hope: (11-12-5-6-6-6-10-5-8-16-14-6)
Jordan Gilles: (4-4-7-8-2-8-9-10-3-2-3-5)
Joey Cupido: (4-6-4-1-6-3-9-3-3-7-4-8)
John Lintz: (4-4-3-7-2-1-4-3-3-6-5-4)
Tim Edwards: (8-6-5-4-5-5-1-2-2-3-2)
The 6-3, 277-lb. forward’s presence was felt right away, as Tyler Digby posted six points (2g, 4a) in the forward’s Feb. 29 debut with Colorado and helped the Mammoth secure a huge victory over Philadelphia Saturday. The New Westminster, BC veteran logged his first point as a member of the Mammoth with a second quarter assist on a Ryan Lee power-play tally before recording his first goal with Colorado just over a minute into the third quarter.
Digby followed the marker up with an assist on each of the team’s next three goals before burying another tally as part of a five-goal third quarter run for Colorado. Trailing only Ryan Lee’s seven points (4g, 3a) the forward hit the ground running and immediately provided dividends during his first game with the team.
His physical approach to offensive sets was a much-needed addition to the otherwise average-sized forward roster and helped create space for Lee, Chris Wardle and others as the team secured a key win last weekend. Expect Digby to stay heavily involved on the offensive side of the floor, continuing to set picks and create space while not shying away from an isolation post or commanding the offense from the top of the key.
Get in the Game
Tickets to Colorado’s March 8 Sunday Funday matchup against the Philadelphia Wings, and all Mammoth home games, can be purchased at AltitudeTickets.com. Mammoth home games will be aired on Altitude and Altitude 2 network stations, while all road games can be streamed live via Bleacher Report Live.