The National Lacrosse League (NLL) recently announced finalists for each of its individual player awards from the 2021-22 NLL campaign. Originally declared at halftime during Game 3 of the NLL Finals, alongside finalists for the Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year honors, Mammoth goaltender Dillon Ward has been nominated for Goaltender of the Year consideration. After winning the award in 2017, his first of the sort, Ward sits atop this year’s elite goaltender list with fellow veterans Nick Rose (Toronto Rock) and Matt Vinc (Buffalo Bandits).
“I know Matt Vinc is a fantastic goalie, and all credit to him, but I think we have the best goalie in the League and we’ve been saying that for years,” Mammoth Assistant Manager and Head Coach Pat Coyle shared in an NLL Finals Game 3 postgame interview. “I think our team wasn’t as deep in the past and we haven’t been able to get this far, but this is what Dillon’s been doing with the Mammoth for 10 years – just an awesome player.”
Ward continuously kept Colorado competitive game-in and game-out throughout the Mammoth’s 2021-22 championship campaign via his significant net presence and defensive leadership. Finishing the regular season with the NLL’s second-highest save percentage (.804), sixth-best goals-against average total (10.22) and tied with the second-most saves (688), Colorado’s prized protector logged career-best totals in each of the categories mentioned while recording a season-high 985:53 time on floor.
Originally drafted by Colorado in the 2013 NLL Entry Draft (1st round, 3rd overall), Ward was also named the 2022 NLL Finals Most Valuable Player after stifling Buffalo’s normally-potent offense to a combined 16 goals in Game 2 and Game 3 of the NLL Finals. Entering this year’s postseason push with two total playoff wins on his resume, Ward exited the 2022 NLL Finals victoriously with a five-win, 11.22 goals-against average and .785 save percentage en route to capturing his first NLL championship.
The NLL is set to announce winners from each of its individual player awards beginning the week of June 27.