Coming off a season-worst four-game road losing streak and unfavorable two-game skid after dropping a 10-6 matchup to Panther City, Colorado was able to rebound last weekend by capturing a pair of Week 18 victories over the Buffalo Bandits (15-14) and New York Riptide (10-7). Entering the contest with a league-best 13-1 record, the high-powered Bandits’ offense was on full display during the cross-conference matchup Saturday night, but was ultimately stifled by a mixture of solid Mammoth defense and a shared offensive approach from Colorado.
Doubling down on its biggest win of the season, the Mammoth quickly prepared for its next opponent as the New York Riptide travelled to Ball Arena Monday to take on Colorado for the first time in NLL history. Despite New York’s 4-9 record entering the game, the Mammoth understood this one meant more: The ability to build on a huge win and keep the train rolling, to battle for Tyson Gibson against his old squad who traded him less than 25 games into his career, playing against former teammates in Ron John and Tyler Digby, executing for the best fans in lacrosse while in the middle of a homestand … the list goes on.
The squad understood the assignment and was able to capture its second win of the weekend in a scrappy, low-scoring battle. Representing only the fifth NLL game to be played on Monday and the first of the five contests in which the home team was victorious, Monday Night Lacrosse fans got their money’s worth whether they were present at the Loud House or watched along with the 12 NLL teams who had moved onto Week 19. Even more important than taking care of business against a struggling Riptide team, the Mammoth logged its ninth victory of the campaign, a potential key win total given the vicious Western Conference competition and overall NLL Chase for the Championship action as the season’s end quickly draws near.
While a few of the Western Conference teams enjoyed a bye week, Colorado and Vancouver each played in two contests, while Calgary and San Diego each recorded one. Entering the weekend in third place of the West, Vancouver dropped Friday’s overtime contest against Calgary (10-9) and went on to lose in its Saturday matchup as well, as Albany posted an 11-7 road victory against the free-falling Warriors squad. While Calgary ended the weekend in third place of the conference with the victory, the Toronto Rock were able to post a dominating 14-7 final over the San Diego Seals, continuing the club’s season-long two-game losing streak. While San Diego enters Week 19 in first place, the club hosts Philadelphia Friday evening before travelling to the Loud House to complete its back-to-back. Should the Wings be able to capture a key victory to benefit their own postseason odds, the Seals and Mammoth would potentially be squaring up for first place of the Western Conference on Saturday at Ball Arena.
If the NLL postseason were to begin this weekend, Colorado would be slated to host the Calgary Roughnecks as the two and three seeds in the Western Conference. Continuing to defend its one seed in the West, San Diego is currently set to host the league’s wild card right now, which includes the hopes of the Wings, Warriors, FireWolves and Lacrosse Club.
Colorado is set to enter its Week 19 matchup against the Seals with a 9-6 record and will face a team playing its second game of the weekend for its third-straight game. The surging Mammoth offense currently qualifies as the only unit to have produced three 30+ goal scorers in Ryan Lee, Connor Robinson and Eli McLaughlin. The trio has continued to lead the charge for Colorado while ensuring secondary scoring threats are getting good looks and staying involved. Complementing Lee’s 98 points and NLL Most Valuable Player campaign on the opposite end of the turf sits goaltender Dillon Ward, who’s kept his team in nearly every matchup this season. Entering the weekend ranked among league leaders in save percentage (3rd, .808), saves (3rd, 576) and wins (T3rd, 8), Ward and company receive the opportunity to earn a victory over Frank Scigliano and the San Diego Seals Saturday as two of the league’s best goaltenders are set to battle in net.
This weekend’s matchup at Ball Arena represents the team’s last home game of the regular season and will be celebrated accordingly via Colorado’s Fan Appreciation Night April 9. Featuring loads of giveaways, appreciation shoutouts, ticket upgrades and beyond, the Loud House will be rocking as the organization’s fiercest rival heads east for each team’s biggest contest of the season. Mammoth fans will be able to stream Saturday’s matchup, and all Mammoth games this season, on ESPN+!
After picking up a dramatic 15-14 victory over the Buffalo Bandits Saturday night as the organization celebrated Military Appreciation Night, the Mammoth followed up the win by posting a 10-7 decision over the New York Riptide Monday evening. With both clubs having played in a matchup earlier that weekend, the low-scoring affair featured standout performances in the crease via Dillon Ward and rookie netminder Kevin Orleman. Scrappy by nature, the game witnessed nine penalties and a rare late-game penalty shot, which NLL Rookie of the Year frontrunner Jeff Teat wasn’t able to convert on. Ultimately ending in favor of the home team, Colorado struggled to produce on the offensive end in the first quarter again, an area they’ll need to fix with the Seals coming to town this weekend.
Monday night’s opening quarter saw a combined three goals, all of which came in the final five minutes of play. Riptide forward Jeff Teat opened the scoring at the 10:45 mark before Colorado answered with a pair of tallies two and three minutes later to take an early lead into the second. As the Mammoth continued to warm up, Connor Robinson and Eli McLaughlin extended their squad’s scoring streak with successful bids at the 1:43 and 3:53 marks of the second. A pair of Riptide markers were followed up by another Robinson goal late in the quarter to give Colorado a 5-3 advantage at the half.
While McLaughlin was able to record his second of the night less than a minute into the third, the Riptide successfully posted three-straight goals before Eli completed his hat-trick effort and stop New York’s run at the 10:14 mark. The Riptide, via Teat, quickly went on to retie the game on its next possession and create a dramatic 7-7 game heading into the final quarter. Courtesy of the Mammoth’s aggressive defensive effort throughout the fourth, Teat’s late third-quarter tally represented the team’s final conversion of the game, as Ward and company denied the Eastern Conference squad from finding twine for the duration of the contest.
After serving a penalty halfway through the fourth, defenseman Warren Jeffrey exited the box to a conveniently-surging loose ball at the half. Knowing his team needed a spark, the big man took the rock right to net and slammed a bouncing bid past Orleman to log his first career game-winning goal. McLaughlin and defenseman Jordan Gilles eventually buried markers at the 12:34 and 14:20 marks to solidify Colorado’s 10-7 Monday Night Lacrosse victory. McLaughlin (4g, 1a) and Ryan Lee (1g, 5a) paced Mammoth scoring efforts Monday, while Connor Robinson (2g, 1a) and a healthy mix of depth scoring opportunities supported the 10-goal effort.
Ryan Lee & The Consisten-Zs:
Since witnessing the team’s offensive unit stall in its last two games heading into last weekend, forward Ryan Lee and company have the squad trending in the right direction heading into Week 19 after the NLL MVP candidate recorded 14 points (2g, 12a) in two contests against Buffalo and New York. Ranking second in points (98), second in assists (68) and tied for 11th in goals (30), Lee’s 6.53 points-per-game rank second-most in the NLL heading into Week 19, as the RIT product continues to perform alongside elite NLL scoring talent, including:
Dhane Smith: 7.80 PPG (117 in 15 GP)
Ryan Lee: 6.53 PPG (98 in 15 GP)
Jeff Teat: 6.16 PPG (74 in 12 GP)
Lyle Thompson: 6.0 PPG (84 in 14 GP)
Callum Crawford: 5.92 PPG (77 in 13 GP)
Through Colorado’s first 15 games this season, Eli McLaughlin joins Ryan Lee as the only players to have recorded at least one point in all 15 contests for the Mammoth this season. After surpassing his previous career-high point total earlier this year (60 points in 13 GP), Lee looks to build on his career-best campaign while continuing to fuel Colorado’s resilient offensive unit. Quickly approaching his career-best figures himself (76 points in 16 GP), McLaughlin has taken an extra step forward in recognizing when he needs to be the shooter and when he needs to connect with teammates, as the forward continued to serve as a leader for the unit. After suffering an injury early in Monday’s game against the Riptide, Mammoth forward Zed Williams exited the contest without a point, breaking his 13-game scoring streak with his new club and leaving McLaughlin and Lee as the team’s two players to have recorded at least one point in each game played this season:
Ryan Lee (5g, 3a), (1g, 1a), (2g, 3a), (2g, 10a), (4g, 3a), (0g, 9a), (2g, 2a), (5g, 2a), (2g, 4a), (3g, 2a), (1g, 12a), (1g, 2a), (0g, 3a), (1g, 7a), (1g, 5a) = (30g, 68a)
Eli McLaughlin (3g, 3a), (1g, 2a), (1g, 3a), (3g, 4a), (1g, 3a), (2g, 1a), (3g, 0a), (1g, 4a), (2g, 2a), (3g, 4a), (5g, 6a), (0g, 2a), (0g, 2a), (1g, 3a), (4g, 1a) = (30g, 40a)
Colorado approaches Week 19 of NLL play receiving standout performances from several members of the team as the squad continues to mesh on both ends of the floor. Anchored by one of the league’s best goaltenders this year, the Mammoth has been able to again depend on its stalwart defensive efforts while experimenting on the offensive front to see what type of packages are working best for the unit. As the team continues to work as a collective force while looking to clinch a playoff spot this weekend, the Mammoth roster features several individuals who rank among league-leaders in multiple categories, including:
Goals: 37 (5th) Connor Robinson
Assists: 68 (2nd) Ryan Lee
Points: 98 (2nd) Ryan Lee
Points-Per-Game: 6.53 (2nd) Ryan Lee
Shots on Goal: 159 (3rd) Ryan Lee
Loose Balls: 109 (11th) Robert Hope
Caused Turnovers: 24 (7th) Robert Hope
Shorthanded Goals: 3 (T2nd) Connor Robinson
Shorthanded Assists: 3 (T1st) Chris Wardle
Game-Winning Goals: 4 (2nd) Eli McLaughlin
Save Percentage: .808 (3rd) Dillon Ward
Saves: 576 (3rd) Dillon Ward
Wins: 8 (T3rd) Dillon Ward
*All rankings updated through Week 18 of NLL play
Get in the Game
Tickets to Colorado’s April 9 Fan Appreciation Night matchup against the San Diego Seals, and all Mammoth home games, can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com. Mammoth road games can be viewed on Altitude TV and streamed live via ESPN+. Mammoth fans can keep an eye on the team’s social channels for upcoming updates on 2021-22 Playoff announcements, 2022-23 ticket renewals and more!