Di Miller, Correspondent Colorado Mammoth
Lacrosse is Awesome©
The Colorado Mammoth (2-5) were in Philadelphia on Saturday February 9 to face the Wings (1-7). Both teams have extremely strong rosters and clearly neither record shows that. There were 10,505 faithful Wings fans in attendance hoping their team would get win number two. In the previous week against Rochester, the Wings had one penalty. In tonight’s contest they had seven, clearly a problem for Philadelphia as the Mammoth who currently sit third in the league on man up opportunities would go 4-7 on power play situations and the Wings who sit last would go 0-3. The Mammoth had six different players hit net, four with five or more points on the night as opposed to the Wings with five players finding a spot between the pipes and three with four points. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, the penalties killed them dropping them to 1-7 on the season. Final Score: Colorado 12—Philadelphia 10.
In the past week each team would make some bold roster moves as Colorado would trade Forward Stephen Keogh to Rochester on Monday in exchange for a second-round draft pick 2019 and a third-round draft pick in 2021. On Monday, the Mammoth also activated rookie left-handed forward Jeff Wittig, a St. Catharines, ON native who has played six seasons in the Ontario Junior A Lacrosse League.
Philadelphia would send NLL rookie Forward Chris Cloutier to the Bandits on Wednesday in exchange for defenseman Ryan Wagner and a first-round draft pick in 2021. Wagner, who is in his fifth NLL season, played four games with Buffalo this season, coming up with 14 loose balls and forcing three caused-turnovers.
The Wings would get it started in the contest going on a three goal run. Blaze Riorden (3G, 1A) was first to score right in front with the give and go and great ball movement as he dodge cut, caught faked and shot scoring on Dillon Ward at 3:08; Steph Charbonneau (2G, 1A) would get the outlet pass from net minder Doug Buchan on the break he pushed the ball up the floor creating the turnover as he faked far finishing near at 4:19 top left under the arm of Ward (Charbonneau is second in the league with goals by a defenseman); and Josh Currier (3G, 1A) would get the feed from Kevin Crowley to set up behind the crease as he dunked it in from behind the net at 5:19. Philadelphia was pressing hard on offense in the first quarter not allowing the Mammoth offense to set up until 11:34 when Eli McLaughlin set the pick, fed the ball to Ryan Benesch (2G, 7A) for the two man game as he pinged the left side pipe stopping the Wings run and closing out the frame. Shots on goal in the first saw the Wings leading 16-5. Score at the end of one: Wings 3—Mammoth 1.
Colorado would start out the second with McLaughlin (4G, 1A) as he cut, turned, set and shot left hand corner only 24 seconds in bringing the Mammoth to within one. But it was short lived as Riorden would get his second on the night with a one handed catch and one hand shot under the arm of Ward as he put it in the back of the net 51 seconds in, score 4-2 Wings. It was then that Philadelphia went into their penalty slide with four in a row, even allowing the Mammoth to go on a five on three. In the first 21 minutes of play, the Wings would see five penalties as opposed to one in 60 minutes of play against Rochester. At 3:05, rookie sensation Kyle Killen would net the first man up goal for Colorado with a quick stick shot, his seventh of the season on the feed off the tic-tac-toe hitting near pipe under the glove of Buchan. At the 6:07 mark, Philadelphia would be nailed with two more penalties, an ‘illegal cross checking’ by Charbonneau; and a ‘slashing’ call against Chet Koneczny who leads the league in major penalties so far. McLaughlin would score on the power play to tie the game at four apiece with the bull dodge off the Jeremy Noble cross crease pass hitting stick side pipe with a quick stick shot at 6:34. The Wings would get their first man up opportunity off a goalie interference call on Jacob Ruest at 7:16 but could not capitalize. The final goal in the frame would come from Ruest (2G, 2A) on the two man game with a face dodge crease dive goal as he squeaked it by Buchan who made the late slide at 9:23 to put the Mammoth up 5-4. Philadelphia was making a lot of high shots and Ward was getting into his comfort zone to deny them in the second as evidenced by a 22:40 minute drought by the Wings. The Mammoth defense was clogging the slot; keeping the Wings from getting the inside shots; and tightened up in the second. Philadelphia would still lead in SOG 27—17. Score at the end of the second: Mammoth 5—Wings 4.
Philadelphia would start out the third with back-to-back goals from Currier, the first in front of the net as he caught the flip cross crease pass with a little finish left, right, left at 2:13 tying the game at five apiece; and his second, a hat-trick goal at 6:51 as he took the shot from the outside and snuck it under the armpit of Ward with a little hop step (Currier leads the team in goals) to put them up 6-5.
There would be two “No Goal” calls next up, one on each side. The first a second opportunity when Mammoth forward Ryan Lee was in the right place at the right time, got the good shot from outside and the rebound off Buchan’s chest as it bounced into Lee’s stick, he’d make the catch, release with a nice goal crease dive through the five hole with a high hop into the net. After review, Lee’s glove touched the crease as the ball was bouncing through the legs of Buchan…NO GOAL.
The next a behind the net shot on Ward as he slid left Currier came from behind the net set up and dove from behind, turned and the shot hit the post, then Ward’s back but before the ball would break the plane, Currier was in the crease…NO GOAL.
After the reviews were complete, the teams were back in action as Ruest would get the cross field pass from Benesch off the quick release and with a hitch step beat Buchan low at 8:00 to tie the game at six apiece. Lee would get his second chance on the night as he hopped out the front door heading to the net and caught Buchan looking left and late to get right scoring at 8:51 for the go ahead goal 7-6. The Wings would go on another three goal run, with Kiel Matisz scoring at 11:09 with the give and go fake, fake finish twister shot as he jumped hitting net. The next goal came from a fake behind the back pass by Matisz and coming around front side to find a streaking Riorden at 13:48. The final in the frame was a beauty of a breakaway by newly acquired Ryan Wagner (1G, 1A) unassisted with the caused turnover on Jeremy Noble with a twister to finish upper corner on Ward at 14:22. The Wings would still lead in SOG 41—30. Score at the end of three: Philadelphia 9—Colorado 7.
The Mammoth would be the first to score in the final frame and go on three goal run of their own. Killen would send the cross field pass to Benesch and with a bullet he would sting the corner at 2:51. Colorado would go on their sixth man up opportunity and would capitalize. At 6:06, Noble would set up McLaughlin on the right hand side for a quick stick shot to tie the game at nine a piece. Then Joey Cupido, the longest tenured player on the Mammoth and playing in his 112th game, would get the break on the defender who took away his opposite side pass and would score in transition unassisted at 6:53 for yet another go ahead goal 10-9. The lone Philadelphia goal would come from Charbonneau as he found a spot on the left side and buried it low left hand corner as he pasted the shot on Ward at 7:07, score 10-10. The Wings would get their second power play opportunity off a holding call on Danny Coates but could not capitalize. Colorado would control the remainder of the game the first a nice power-play goal by McLaughlin as he set up in front of the net and finished it with a pick and roll twister shot burying it right side at 9:18; and Killen would score on the man down situation with 11 seconds remaining in the penalty kill with another quick release as he pasted the upper right hand corner at 10:58. The Wings would lead the game in SOG with 53 as opposed to 40 by the Mammoth. Final Score: Mammoth 12—Wings 10.
Dillon Ward: 10 GA; 53 SOG; 43 Saves; .811 SV%
Doug Buchan: 12 GA; 40 SOG; 28 Saves; .700 SV%
Colorado: 40 SOG; 27 SOFF; 68 LB; 10-26 FO; 4-7 PPG; .571 PPG%
Philadelphia: 53 SOG; 18 SOFF; 65 LB; 16-26 FO; 0-3 PPG
Colorado (2-5) heads home after a three game road trip and will host the Georgia Swarm (7-3) on Saturday February 16, game time 9:00 p.m. EST.
The Wings (1-7) will host the New England Black Wolves (4-3) on Saturday February 16, game time 7:00 p.m. EST; and will turn around for a home and away game in New England on Sunday February 17, game time 3:00 p.m. EST.
Di Miller, Correspondent Colorado Mammoth
Lacrosse is Awesome©