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Mammoth to Host Knighthawks on Colorado Lacrosse Night


DENVER – With the Mammoth dropping its most recent contest against the Toronto Rock, 12-7, the team fell to 4-9 on the season despite being tied heading into the final 15 minutes of play out east. Seeing the Rock score twice within the first two minutes of fourth quarter play, Toronto’s Tom Schreiber extended his team’s lead to three 5:25 in as the home team ran away with it. Just two weeks after exploding for a season-high 18 goals in a big home win over the New York Riptide, the team only managed seven goals in Toronto, matching the squad’s total from the previous weekend when Colorado dropped a 15-7 decision to the Saskatchewan Rush.

RELATED: Mammoth Fall to Rock Saturday Night, 12-7

With Eli McLaughlin (2g, 0a), Tyson Gibson (2g, 0a), Zed Williams (0g, 2a), Brett Craig (0g, 2a) and Connor Robinson (0g, 2a) pacing the scoring efforts for Colorado, each recording two points, the slow night in the O-zone represented the first time all season where at least one Mammoth forward produced a hat-trick effort.

Ward, and the defense in general, looked solid through a majority of the first three quarters after allowing the Rock to start the game with four straight markers. But between Toronto’s offense coming to life a bit in the final 15 and Colorado unable to score in either the first or fourth periods, it’s not much of a surprise the league’s top-ranked team pulled off the win at home.

While the team was technically on a bye during the NLL’s Week 16, able to rest up with the weekend off, General Manager Brad Self ensured the team stayed active leading into the 2024 NLL Trade Deadline by making a pair of deals. With the team sporting a 4-9 record with just five games remaining while occupying the No. 13 overall ranking, the moves made sense as the organization both said goodbye to two veterans who were on expiring deals while acquiring some future draft capital.

Sending forward Chris Wardle to the San Diego Seals and defenseman Paul Dawson to the Buffalo Bandits (alongside a 2024 third-round NLL Entry Draft selection), the organization returned a second-round selection in the 2024 NLL Entry Draft, a second-round selection in the 2025 NLL Entry Draft and a third-round selection in the 2024 NLL Entry Draft as it looks to welcome some additional youth to the pipelines next season. We won’t say turning the page to 2025 just yet, either, as the team is technically still able to qualify for the NLL postseason.

RELATED: Colorado Acquires Future Draft Capital Ahead of 2024 NLL Trade Deadline

Partially due to the league’s new Unified Standings format, which will allow the Top 8-ranked teams at the end of the regular season to qualify for the postseason. Both this weekend’s opponent, the (6-6) Rochester Knighthawks and (6-7) Panther City Lacrosse Club, currently occupy postseason positions with six wins each, respectively. Assuming they each win at least two more in their final six and five opportunities, the fewest amount of wins needed to get in would be eight. With the (5-6) Saskatchewan Rush and (6-8) New York Riptide lurking just outside playoff contention, plus the (5-7) Philadelphia Wings and (5-8) Calgary Roughnecks each already at five wins, the probability that nine wins will be needed to qualify is more likely.

With just five games remaining in Colorado’s regular season slate, the team is essentially in win-or-go-home mode, needing wins in at least four of the five, if not all five, to keep its chances at postseason competition alive.

Thus, the boys will continue to fight on in hopes of securing their spot within the postseason gauntlet!

Set to battle for the first time in four years, with Colorado last picking up a 10-8 win inside the LOUD HOUSE before seeing the remainder of the 2019-20 season cancelled due to the pandemic, Saturday’s clash will also represent just the second all-time meeting between the franchises, as the original Knighthawks franchise and historic records continue operating as the Halifax Thunderbirds.

As far as Rochester is concerned, the squad began its 2023-24 season by securing three-straight wins before going on to drop its next six consecutive contests. Now, set to bring its three-game win streak to the LOUD HOUSE Saturday night, the team is back to 6-6 on the season and currently positioned inside the postseason bubble as things sit. With an MVP frontrunner in Connor Fields and plenty of youthful, score-friendly talent, the dark green team will be every bit of a challenge for Eli McLaughlin and company.

Representing the sixth of eight Week 17 games and the fourth of five contests scheduled for Saturday, with Colorado and Rochester set to share the slate spotlight alongside Halifax x Toronto, Vancouver x Philadelphia, Saskatchewan x New York and Las Vegas x San Diego, the LOUD HOUSE is primed to be packed to the nines as the organization celebrates Colorado Lacrosse Night! Honoring our sport’s history while taking in a game with the teams, teammates and coaches we’ve grown the game beside, be sure to grab your tickets to what should be an electric start to the team’s final homestand of the season!

Saturday evening’s showdown against the Knighthawks is set to begin at 7 p.m. MT inside Ball Arena, thus representing Colorado’s seventh home contest of the season and first of three games remaining this season to be played at the LOUD HOUSE. Fans can catch the team’s 14th showdown of the year via Altitude 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!

Leading the Way

Last game’s two-point (2g, 0a) performance from Mammoth scoring extraordinaire Eli McLaughlin may have been a bit of a down week, as Toronto’s elite defense was able to limit Liger and each of his teammates to two or fewer points in the eastern showdown. Despite the odd outing, McLaughlin’s 68 points (32g, 26a) continue to pace all Mammoth scorers this season. With Connor Kelly missing the team’s most recent competition, as the team placed him on the Injured Reserve List two weeks back, McLaughlin has managed 22 more points this season having competed in just two more contests than Kelly. Notching seven more goals than Kelly, while growing his assist totals to 15 more, Liger has been a leader on and off the floor this season once again for Colorado, as he continues to sport the “A” for the burgundy boys. Averaging 5.23 points per-game in 2023-24, the B.C. native continues to sit atop the team’s point (68), goal (32) and assist (36) totals, joining the following players in leading the charge so far, including:

Points: 68 (Eli McLaughlin)

Goals: 32 (Eli McLaughlin)

Assists: 36 (Eli McLaughlin)

Loose Balls: 94 (Robert Hope)

Caused Turnovers: 17 (Robert Hope)

Penalty Minutes: 27 (Jordan Gilles)

Blocked Shots: 21 (Robert Hope)

Faceoff Wins: 180 (Tim Edwards)

Consistency is Key

With Mammoth forward Zed Williams (37 points) needing just three more points to become the fifth Colorado contributor to log 40 points this season, it’s rather apparent that the squad has spread out scoring efforts this season a bit more than usual with All-Pro Ryan Lee missing the entire 2023-24 season. However, that’s allowed guys like Connor Robinson to settle into a bit more of a distributing role while letting right-handed threats in Connor Kelly (46 points) and Tyson Gibson (40 points) fire away as Williams continues to embrace his body-banging role. After exploding last season for a career-high 71 points (37g, 34a), Williams has evolved his off-ball game while continuing to be a man-down threat, thanks to his physical presence and unique ability to melt right through opposing defenders. Set to hit the 40-point mark Saturday against Rochester, Williams joins five other Mammoth players in having recorded at least one point in each game he’s suited up for, 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), (3g, 1a), (2g, 0a) = 68 points (32g, 36a)

Connor Kelly: (3g, 2a), (2g, 1a), (3g, 1a), (1g, 2a), (4g, 0a), (1g, 1a), (3g, 0a), (4g, 4a), (2g, 3a), (1g, 6a), (1g, 1a) = 46 points (25g, 21a)

Connor Robinson: (0g, 2a), (3g, 0a), (4g, 3a), (0g, 1a), (2g, 3a), (0g, 6a), (1g, 4a), (0g, 1a), (0g, 4a), (1g, 0a), (3g, 4a), (1g, 1a), (0g, 2a) = 46 points (15g, 31a)

Tyson Gibson: (1g, 4a), (1g, 2a), (2g, 1a), (0g, 2a), (0g, 2a), (1g, 0a), (2g, 3a), (1g, 1a), (2g, 3a), (2g, 1a), (4g, 2a), (0g, 1a), (2g, 0a) = 40 points (18g, 22a)

Zed Williams: (0g, 1a), (2g, 4a), (1g, 1a), (1g, 2a), (1g, 1a), (2g, 1a), (2g, 0a), (3g, 2a), (2g, 2a), (3g, 2a), (0g, 2a), (0g, 2a) = 37 points (17g, 20a)

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

Rochester Returns

Just the second time in NLL history that the Colorado Mammoth and Rochester Knighthawks (under their current franchise/leadership group) will clash, Rochester will look to extend its three-game win streak Saturday night during a win-or-go-home matchup for the home team.

And it all starts and stops with one Connor Fields, who’s amassed a team-high 89 points (38g, 51a) in just 12 regular season appearances. Putting his name in the NLL’s MVP conversation amongst all-league talent, the young playmaker isn’t afraid to make a play. Be it with the ball in his stick or dishing the rock to one his many capable teammates, he’s connected with fellow youngster Ryan Smith, who’s notched 78 points (37g, 41a) of his own in fueling the designated duo to individual season greatness. However, the team’s goals likely revolve around returning to the postseason, in which they’ll need Ryan Lanchbury (59 points), Thomas McConvey (43 points) and Kyle Waters (33 points) to continue to thrive in their support roles.

Matt Gilray ranks amongst the league’s leaders with 123 loose balls and 18 caused turnovers and will undoubtedly serve as the team’s back-end anchor alongside former Mammoth captain Dan Coates and veterans in Mitch Ogilvie and company. Set to bring a 12.89 goals against-average and .758 save percentage into the matchup, goaltender Riley Hutchcraft will look to improve upon his 6-6 record while dealing with Colorado’s talented scorers in Liger, Robinson and beyond!

Get in the Game

Mammoth games can be viewed on Altitude TV and streamed live via ESPN+. Saturday’s March 23 Colorado Lacrosse Night matchup against the Rochester Knighthawks can be viewed locally on Altitude 2 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 the Mammoth’s Colorado Lacrosse Night matchup against the Rochester Knighthawks at Ball Arena remain available as the organization prepares to celebrate the sport we love and the athletes who make Colorado such a lacrosse-forward community!

Colorado Mammoth Pro Lacrosse Team