The Colorado Mammoth opened its 2021-22 season in Georgia on a high note Saturday by recording a 16-11 victory over the Swarm at Gas South Arena. Heading back to Ball Arena for its second contest of the young campaign, Colorado is set to host Western Conference rivals in the San Diego seals Dec. 11 as the Mammoth prepares to Black Out the Loud House during its 2021-22 Home Opener.
Also: Blackout Jerseys. We’re wearing new BLACKOUT JERSEYS!
While the Citizens of the Loud House are sure to be rockin’ out as the usual stars of the show, the Mammoth and Ball Arena will share the spotlight with recently-announced broadcast partner ESPN Saturday, as Colorado will host the Seals during the NLL’s first-ever game showcased on ESPN networks via a 6:30 p.m. faceoff on ESPNEWS. Mammoth fans will be able to stream Saturday’s Home Opener, and all 18 Mammoth games, on ESPN+!
2019-20 Series Recap
Saturday’s game against the Seals will represent the first of three regular season matches this season between the conference rivals and the first of two games to be held at Ball Arena. Despite dropping a 17-10 decision to San Diego Feb. 1 during the first professional lacrosse game to take place in Las Vegas, Colorado captured a 10-7 victory 14 days later at the Loud House to even the seasons series.
Heading into Saturday’s matchup, both teams feature improved rosters and will look to lean on their respective goaltenders as the squads renew their rivalry at Ball Arena Dec. 11!
Early Success, Continued Results
As the Mammoth opened its season with 16 goals against Georgia, the offensive unit wasted little time getting to work following some in-arena delays. After taking a 4-1 lead into the second quarter, Colorado added two more in the second to establish a 6-4 lead at halftime. As the result of some adjustments at the break, the Mammoth offense began to explode, as the O-unit produced six markers in the third quarter and chipped in four more during the final session en route to outscoring the Swarm 10-7 in the second half.
Registering 52 shots on goal Saturday, the Mammoth were able to get a solid understanding of what’s going to work with the unit and what the team may need to focus on moving forward. Regardless of personnel and advantage situations, the Mammoth were able execute a well-spaced, physical approach on offense and remained determined in creating quality looks against Georgia. Featuring a mix of returning favorites and new arrivals, Colorado effectively spread the load in Week 1 and received major contributions from:
Ryan Lee (5g, 3a), Eli McLaughlin (3g, 3a), Connor Robison (2g, 3a), Chris Wardle (1g, 4a), Zed Williams (2g, 1a) and Tyler Digby (2g, 2a) as the unit spread the love during its return to play. Mammoth forward Dylan Kinnear (0g, 2a) helped create a ton of space on the unit’s left side, while assistant captain Joey Cupido added two points (1g, 1a). Rookie defenseman Ron John (0g, 1a) recorded his first career point in the game’s final minute with an assist on Ryan Lee’s fifth goal of the night.
Faceoff specialist Tim Edwards asserted himself in the circle and provided additional offensive opportunities by winning 20-of-29 faceoffs, while Erik Turner secured 1-of-2 opportunities in the circle.
After finishing the 2019-20 campaign ranked tied for the third most loose balls in the league (114), Robert Hope quickly resumed his lead defensive role with the Mammoth and logged a game-high 19 loose balls. Defenseman Jordan Gilles added 10 while defenseman Tim Edwards recorded seven.
Mammoth goaltender Dillon Ward earned his first victory of the season by stopping 48-of-59 and added an assist during a floor-length outlet pass to Joey Cupido, who connected with Zed Williams in creating the evening’s Ball Play of the Game.
As the Mammoth head into Saturday’s contest against San Diego, they’ll likely look to lean on the services of Lee, McLaughlin and company again, while possibly looking to get Lee and Digby involved in additional two-man opportunities.
After dropping its opening matchup of the season at home, the San Diego Seals will travel to Ball Arena to face one of the league’s hottest teams out of the gate. As the result of an 8-7 defeat, the Seals should look to feature rookies Mac O’Keefe and Tre Leclaire after the forwards logged two (1g, 1a) and three (2g, 1a) points, respectively, during their NLL debuts.
Dane Dobbie made a favorable first impression in San Diego last weekend by recording five points (1g, 4a) in his Dec. 4 debut with the Seals. Despite his age, the forward constantly drew double teams and wandering eyes whenever he was on the floor and should serve as a veteran focal point of the offense this season.
Wes Berg (1g, 2a), Casey Jackson (1g, 1a) and Zack Greer (1g, 0a) rounded out the scoring for San Diego in Week1. Rookie defenseman Patrick Shoemay paced the team with 10 loose balls and added a caused turnover during his first pro appearance. Brandon Clelland won 6-of-15 faceoffs last weekend, while Eli Gobrecht captured 1-of-3.
Netminder Frank Scigliano stopped 30-of-38 in his first performance of the year and looked sharp against the Warriors. Effectively eliminating depth scoring for its opposition, San Diego and its goaltender limited Vancouver to four total goal-scorers on the evening, but allowed Warriors forward Mitch Jones to record five goals in the loss. After one week, Jones now sits atop the NLL tied with Mammoth forward Ryan Lee with five markers.
Scigliano is likely to start for the Seals Saturday after exiting the contest ranked second amongst NLL goaltenders with an 8.00 goals-against average.
Special Teams, Special Evening
During a Dec. 4 matchup which featured a combined 10 penalties in the game, seven of the fouls were called on the Mammoth. While a majority of those calls were likely related to “shaking off the cobwebs” in the team’s first pro box action in a year-and-a-half, Colorado will look to stay more disciplined with substitutions during transition and eliminate unnecessary holding and cross-checking penalties. Two of the penalties from Saturday directly helped stop rushes from the Swarm and were soon justified after the Mammoth D-unit stopped the ensuing power-play opportunities for Georgia.
Overall, Colorado’s defensive unit limited the Swarm to one power-play conversion (1-for-7) Saturday, as Brendan Bomberry logged the sole extra-man marker. Defensive spacing and eliminating skip passes from Georgia’s extra-man served as keys for locking down the Swarm’s special teams’ unit, while awareness and quality conditioning on Colorado’s end led to several shorthanded goals for the Mammoth. The team was able to capitalize on man-down opportunities three times Saturday, as Ryan Lee, Connor Robinson and Eli McLaughlin each recorded shorthanded goals. The three shorties represent the most in the league heading into the league’s second week of action.
Out of three man-up chances Colorado received, the Mammoth converted the first of three, as Digby faked a shot and stepped around his defender before sending a fiery bid past Swarm goaltender Mike Poulin to give Colorado an early 2-1 lead. The Mammoth will look to improve its efficiency on the power-play while limiting penalties moving forward.
On the flip side, the Seals went 0-3 on the power-play in Week 1, failing to capitalize on a pair of early chances in the first quarter and another later in the final period. During the first two opportunities, the unit seemed to settle for outside shots and lacked movement in its first contest, sticking to a house formation and attempting to create space with shot fakes and passes. Casey Jackson had a few attempts outside the crease to the goaltender’s left side, but his low-angled bids were denied throughout the evening. San Diego altered its look during their fourth quarter opportunity, as Dobbie stationed himself in the center of the defensive unit while a floating fifth-man behind the net helped create a solid look, but was quickly denied by Buque.
Get in the Game
Tickets to Colorado’s Dec. 11 Home Opener matchup against the San Diego Seals, and all Mammoth home games, can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com. Mammoth road games can be streamed live via ESPN+.