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Mammoth Set to Host Rush Saturday on Marvel Super Hero Night


DENVER – Recording a HUGE 18-10 win inside the LOUD HOUSE Friday night against the trending New York Riptide last weekend, the (4-7) Mammoth prepare to host its second-straight game at Ball Arena Saturday, March 2 as the organization participates in its first-ever Marvel Super Hero ™ Night! With visits from Spider Man and Captain America, limited edition Mammoth / Marvel comic books and tons of Super Hero-forward action on deck throughout the night, fans will NOT want to miss this one!

Seeing Eli McLaughlin explode for a game-high nine points (4g, 5a), which included the league’s fastest natural hat trick of the season (earned in a quick 96 seconds), Liger paved the way for the good guys to get back in the win column, but was far from the only player firing on all cylinders Friday. Connor Kelly (1g, 6a) racked up a season-high six assists among his seven points, while fellow right-handed forward Tyson Gibson recorded a career-best four goals amidst his six-point (4g, 2a) performance. Connor Robinson (3g, 4a), Zed Williams (3g, 2a), Dylan Kinnear (1g, 2a) and defenseman Brett Craig (1g, 1a) provided scoring efforts as the team improved to 3-2 overall inside Ball Arena.

RELATED: Mammoth Capture Epic 18-10 win over Riptide in Return to Ball Arena

Potentially most importantly, All-World talent in goaltender Dillon Ward allowed just 10 goals in the game, including a mere two tallies throughout the entire second-half as the netminder helped will his team to another dramatic comeback. With the (3-5) Saskatchewan Rush averaging just over 11 goals per-game this season (11.375), Ward will once again play a big role (when doesn’t he?) in stopping guys like Robert Church, Zach Manns and company from getting hot early.

While the two teams bring similar records into the showdown (3-5 for the Rush; 4-7 for the Mammoth), neither team has been eliminated from postseason contention thanks to the league’s new Unified Standings format. However, the teams do sit next to each other in the standings heading into Week 14, with the Rush just one spot ahead of Colorado due to the fact Saskatchewan has played in three less games than the Mammoth so far this season. In fact, the Rush played just one total game throughout the entire 31-day month of January (an 11-9 loss to the Vancouver Warriors on Jan. 20). And with a potentially troublesome four-game road trip coming up in March bleeding into April, the Rush truly have their word cut out for them if they hope to qualify for the playoffs.

With home-field advantage typically being a thing in most sports leagues, the Rush have actually had more success on the road so far this season (just 1-4 within SaskTel Centre compared to 2-1 on the road, with wins in Las Vegas and Vancouver). Unafraid of hitting the road and mixing it up, the team would likely be wise to shut things down for the season if they aren’t able to get a decent win streak going here, as the team seems to be closer to rebuilding than contending in 2024.

One thing’s for sure – 38 professional athletes will take the turf Saturday night inside Ball Arena, and while the teams may combine for an overall 7-12 record, each and every one of those men will be giving it their all. With a trip to the playoffs on the line. With expiring contracts on either side of the floor. With everything they have: for their team, for their families and for another chance to secure an NLL Championship!

Zero of the eight available postseason spots have been claimed through Week 13, but with both the (8-2) Toronto Rock and (8-2) Albany FireWolves continuing to pile up wins out east, the amount of playoff seeds may quickly be shrinking from eight to six if these two front-running squads have anything to say about it. Both picking up wins last weekend (Rock 9-5 over Warriors; FireWolves 13-10 over the defending NLL Champion Buffalo Bandits), it’s very likely that one of the two squads enter the postseason with the No. 1 overall seed.

Dropping down a tier in the standings, we find the (7-3) San Diego Seals and (7-4) Halifax Thunderbirds who represent the only other two teams who seem to have a solid chance at making the postseason, as the rest of the league’s 11 teams have five or few wins. The Seals were able to squeak out a dramatic overtime win over the Georgia Swarm last weekend en route to advancing to the seven-win mark, while the Thunderbirds picked up a blowout 19-6 victory over Saskatchewan, who may already be looking to the 2024 NLL Entry Draft board as they continue to gravitate toward the bottom of the standings.

Breaking down what each of these four contenders have? An elite goalie (same here, so we have a chance to make a run!) An all-star forward or two, complemented by another two or three productive forwards (we’re checking those boxes as well, thanks to Liger, the Magic Man, CK40, Zed Williams, Tyson Gibson, etc. etc. etc.) But the biggest difference for these squads so far have been embracing the physical game while staying disciplined on the back end (really picking and choosing when to take some of those silly two-minute minors). Efficient on both the power-play and penalty-kill, special teams continue to fuel the league’s top squads, areas both the Rush and Mammoth will look to improve Saturday night.

And if the league wanted some spicy scenarios littered throughout the second half of the 2023-24 schedule this season, they’re getting exactly what they want, as the remaining 11 squads continue to have a chance to turn things around and secure one of the four potential remaining spots. Tie-breakers are going to be big this season, which starts with head-to-head wins. With Colorado already dropping contests to each of Albany, San Diego, Panther City, Georgia (twice) and Buffalo, each of which sit ahead of the Mammoth in the standings, they’ll need to take advantage of remaining one-off matchups with the Rush, (3-6) Knighthawks, (3-6) Wings and (4-6) Desert Dogs, all of whom sit at either three or four wins currently. While Colorado would love a win against the No. 1 Rock next weekend, showdowns against the Bandits and Thunderbirds could very much be the deciding factors in Colorado’s playoff hunt.

Regardless of scenarios and how each team’s remaining games play out, teams are typically looking to get to the 10-win mark in feeling comfortable about their odds. There’s a small chance that one or two nine-win teams qualify during the unique season, even more reasons to stay tuned for the March to May!

Representing the seven of nine Week 14 games and the third of four contests scheduled for Saturday night, with Colorado and Saskatchewan sharing the slate spotlight alongside Philadelphia x Calgary, New York x Albany and Toronto x San Diego, the Rush and Mammoth fanbases will be on the edge of their seats as they hope to witness respective late-season turnarounds from their squads.

Saturday night’s showdown against the Rush is set to begin at 7 p.m. MT inside Ball Arena, thus representing Colorado’s sixth home contest of the season and second of a two-game homestand. Fans can catch the team’s 12th showdown of the year via Altitude TV 2, stream the matchup live on ESPN+ and stay tuned to and Colorado Mammoth social media channels for game highlights, postgame recaps and beyond!

Last Time They Met

Most of the time these two squads meet, the numbers on the scoreboard are typically within one or two of each other, with overtime typically needed to decide the result, which was exactly the case the last time Colorado travelled to SaskTel Centre. Taking place in the Mammoth’s second-to-last matchup of the 2022-23 campaign, the Rush completed the dramatic contest 88 seconds into overtime, as Saskatchewan scorer Robert Church lit the lamp to close the extra session and secure his team the win.

It was all Saskatchewan early, as the green guys got out to a 5-2 advantage midway through the second quarter. With Liger picking up a pair of consecutive tallies, Colorado battled back within one goal, only to see former Rush standout forward Mark Matthews (now with Toronto) reinstate the two-goal advantage heading into the break, 6-4 overall. While McLaughlin completed his hat trick to kick the third quarter off, the Rush responded with three straight to create a 9-5 game.

Eventually outscoring Saskatchewan 6-2 the rest of the way, McLaughlin went on to record a road sock trick, including Colorado’s final three goals to bring some free lacrosse into the building. But in clutch fashion, it was the veteran in Church who sealed the deal to cap of his six-point night. Matthews (1g, 6a) and Keenan (2g, 3a) did the heavies lifting for the home team, while McLaughlin (7g, 1a), Connor Robinson (1g, 5a), Tyson Gibson (1g, 4a) and Zed Williams (1g, 3a) gave their all in the close call.

Leading the Way

Each game starts and stops with the faceoff men, and with dual-threat defenseman turned dot guy in Tim Edwards continuing to find himself involved not only at ends of the floor, but big circle in very center of the turf, Edwards’ value and play may be at an all-time high. Now 165-for-280 on the season, winning nearly 60% (59.9%) of faceoffs this season, he’s earned the fourth-most faceoff wins in the league, trailing only Jake Withers, Trevor Baptiste and Joe Nardella (long-time established faceoff legends in their own rights). Sparking momentum for the Mammoth in the transition game on the regular, Edwards is up to eight points on the season (4g, 4a), which includes a career-high four goals, as the speedster has found success literally all over the turf this season. Just three points away from tying his season-best total of 11, Edwards has also racked up 68 loose balls (third-most on the team) and nine caused turnovers (fourth-most on the squad) as he operates as quite the jack of all trades. Set to improve on each of those totals while remaining elite in the circle, Edwards joins the following players in leading the charge so far, including:

Points: 62 (Eli McLaughlin)

Goals: 27 (Eli McLaughlin)

Assists: 35 (Eli McLaughlin)

Loose Balls: 72 (Robert Hope)

Caused Turnovers: 17 (Robert Hope)

Penalty Minutes: 29 (Paul Dawson)

Blocked Shots: 16 (Robert Hope)

Faceoff Wins: 165 (Tim Edwards)

Consistency is Key

There are a lot of adjectives that could describe Tyson Gibson’s stellar performance last weekend against the Riptide, but consistent seems to go hand-in-hand with not only that showing, but Gibson’s season as a whole. Rarely the highest-scoring guy in the contest, it’s the timing of his response goals and the way he’s able to quietly lurk on the back side of sets before receiving the rock and pounding it home. After racking up a career-high four goals against his former team in New York, the very squad that watched on as the talent won Rookie of the Year honors, only to trade him the following season, Gibson will look to stay hot Saturday. Recording one or more goals in nine of 11 games this season, “Gibby” has regularly found the net, while he’s only had one appearance where he didn’t manage an assist. Able to find the scoresheet in some form or fashion in all of Colorado’s contests this season, he joins the following players in consistently producing favorable stat lines, including:

Eli McLaughlin: (2g, 3a), (1g, 2a), (2g, 2a), (3g, 2a), (3g, 3a), (2g, 4a), (5g, 5a), (0g, 3a), (2g, 3a), (3g, 3a), (4g, 5a) = 62 points (27g, 35a)

Connor Kelly: (3g, 2a), (2g, 1a), (3g, 1a), (1g, 2a), (4g, 0a), (1g, 1a), (3g, 0a), (4g, 4a), (2g, 3a), (1g, 6a) = 44 points (24g, 20a)

Connor Robinson: (0g, 2a), (3g, 0a), (4g, 3a), (0g, 1a), (2g, 3a), (0g, 6a), (1g, 4a), (0g, 1a), (0g, 4a), (1g, 0a), (3g, 4a) = 42 points (14g, 28a)

Tyson Gibson: (1g, 4a), (1g, 2a), (2g, 1a), (0g, 2a), (0g, 2a), (1g, 0a), (2g, 3a), (1g, 1a), (2g, 3a), (2g, 1a), (4g, 2a) = 37 points (16g, 21a)

Zed Williams: (0g, 1a), (2g, 4a), (1g, 1a), (1g, 2a), (1g, 1a), (2g, 1a), (2g, 0a), (3g, 2a), (2g, 2a), (3g, 2a) = 33 points (17g, 16a)

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

Not Your Father’s Saskatchewan Rush

As the league continues to welcome new talent each and every year and veterans (like Mark Matthews) approach the back half of their careers and switch sides to contenders, the (3-5) Saskatchewan Rush are not your father’s version of the once mighty green and black squad. With several key pillars departing over the past few seasons, Robert Church remains with his long-time team as he continues to lead the way with 41 points (18g, 23a) in eight contests. However, for the Saskatoon-based squad, they’ve only got three players total at the 35-or-above point mark, with Zach Manns (17g, 23a) and Ryan Keenan (11g, 24a) joining Church as the club’s biggest producers.

With a bit of a wonky schedule throughout the first half of their season, Saturday’s schedule will officially mark the team’s midway point of the season, despite just two months of regular season play remaining. Set to endure quite the second-half gauntlet, which includes 10 more showdowns in the next 51 games, the Rush will be playing every five days or so on average, which just so happens to include a pair of back-to-back games (which are never fun to deal with!)

Goaltender Frank Scigliano, in his first season with the squad since beginning his career with the San Diego Seals, brings a 3-4 record, 11.67 goals-against average and .780 save percentage into Saturday’s showdown, which aren’t terrible marks all things considered. With a veteran-friendly group of defenseman in front of him, Scigliano should expect to see plenty of quality looks this weekend just seven days after the Mammoth posted a season-high 18 goals.

Get in the Game

Mammoth games can be viewed on Altitude TV and streamed live via ESPN+. Saturday’s March 2 matchup against the Saskatchewan Rush can be viewed locally on Altitude TV 2 and streamed live on ESPN+. Mammoth fans can keep an eye on the team’s social media channels and for the latest news, transactions and organizational updates throughout the 2023-24 NLL season.

Limited tickets for Colorado’s Marvel Super Hero ™ Night matchup against the Saskatchewan Rush at Ball Arena remain available! Featuring visits from both Spider Man and Captain America, custom Marvel / Mammoth comic books for the first 3,000 fans in the building and tons of in-game activations, Saturday night’s showdown is a great opportunity for Mammoth, Marvel and overall lacrosse fans to come together as one as we honor the history of our game in a unique way!

Colorado Mammoth Pro Lacrosse Team