Di Miller, Correspondent Colorado Mammoth
Lacrosse is Awesome©
Featured Image Photo Credit: Di Miller
On Saturday February 15, 2020, the Colorado Mammoth (5-6) who were sitting at fourth in the West hosted the San Diego Seals (3-6) at the Loud House in Denver, CO. This victory pushed them all the way back up to second in the West with the help from Toronto who had defeated Vancouver just an hour before. The crowd wasn’t as large as usual, this night only boasting 10,820 but you couldn’t tell based upon the volume in the arena. The electricity was high last night as the Mammoth were looking to get their first win over the elusive Seals squad, one they had been unable to defeat since coming into the league as a new franchise during the 2018-19 season. But Colorado got on the board first and never looked back only allowing San Diego to tie the game in the first minute and a half. From then on out, although the Seals got close, they couldn’t get past the fired up Mammoth squad who would finally break the curse and defeat their West Division foes for the first time in a night of firsts. We’d see Mammoth Forward Jake McNabb score his first career NLL goal; his first career short-handed goal; and first NLL power-play goal; Mammoth Defenseman Tim Edwards would also tally his first goal of the 2019-20 season as well. This was also the first time former Fan Favorite Jeremy Noble would step back on the turf in Colorado and he was welcomed with open arms although having notched a first half hat-trick for the Seals. Final Score: Mammoth 10—Seals 7.
Colorado didn’t waste any time getting on the board in the first. Dylan Kinnear (2g, 1a) would score on their opening possession firing one in past Seals net-minder Frank Scigliano only 24 seconds in. Less than a minute later former Mammoth Forward now Seals fourth leading score Jeremy Noble (3g, 2a) would fire one past Dillon Ward for the equalizer at the 1:18 mark and the only time in the contest the Seals would tie the score. For nine minutes the score stood as the teams were firing on cage but each goal keeper was defending their pipes well. Ryan Lee (1g, 5a) would break that barrier at the 10:00 mark on a power-play tally over the shoulder of Scigliano with the assist to Kinnear and Eli McLaughlin and the Mammoth would go up 2-1. Just three minutes later, Colorado would strike back with rookie Forward Jake McNabb (2g, 1a) tallying his first career NLL goal, a shorthanded goal with 1:46 remaining. The celebration was short lived as Noble would notch another only 28 seconds later on the man-up getting them back to within one. With the clock winding down in the first frame, Kinnear found a way to fire one near side with one second left in the first and a two goal lead for the Mammoth. San Diego held the lead in shots on goal 19-14. Score at the end of one: Mammoth 4—Seals 2.
Scoring was even in the second, but got off to slow start with the first tally not coming until the 7:17 mark. Colorado started it with one from Chris Wardle (1g, 2a) with a diving goal off the pass from Lee from behind the net. It took less than a minute for San Diego to fire back. Connor Fields (1g, 2a) was able to sneak one past Ward to close the gap back to two at the 8:12 mark. Four more minutes ticked off the timer and the Mammoth struck next. Tim Edwards (1g), face-off specialist for the Mammoth would score his first goal of the season at 12:19 in transition on a three-on-two breakaway and buried the pass from John Lintz. Just four seconds after the goal, Joey Cupido was hit with a holding the stick penalty and San Diego would capitalize. Noble would notch his first half hat-trick which was actually one second after the penalty had expired according to the score sheet, but none-the-less goes down in the books as a power-play tally. San Diego had increased their lead in shots on goal 34-21. Score at the end of the first half: Mammoth 6—Seal 4.
Once again, the teams would match goal for goal in the third. The scoring started sooner this time, with the Mammoth striking first once more this time on a power-play tally off a holding the stick penalty again Eli Gobrecht. McNabb would notch his first career power-play goal and the second on the night with an overhand shot burying it in the net at 3:25. After some good ball movement by Colorado, Jacob Ruest (1g) fired one over the shoulder of Scigliano outside the crease sending him to the bench at 5:01 in favor of Nick Damude. At this point, Colorado had a four goal lead 10-6. The Seals quieted down the Mammoth fans when another former Mammoth favorite Zach Greer (1g, 1a) was able to break free on the pick-and-roll and bounced one past Ward at 8:37; and then Gobrecht (1g) would also bounce one past Ward with just under three in the third closing the gap back to two. San Diego still held a comfortable lead in shots on goal 40-29. Score at the end of three: Mammoth 8—Seals 6.
The fourth was a defensive battle with both net-minders making some great saves. The Mammoth would take their three quarter momentum into the fourth and only allowed the Seals to score once. They’d finish off their three goal run with one from Connor Kearnan (1g, 1a) with a quick stick shot over the shoulder of Ward at the 8:45 mark. That was it for San Diego. Four minutes later, Jordan Gilles on the two-on-one break, got the pass from Dan Coates and as he headed towards the net faked left-right-left and fired it over the right shoulder of Damude at 12:21. The Seals tried to get shots past Ward, but he was simply stellar in between the pipes once again. As the clock wound down, San Diego pulled Damude from the net and with the final turnover; he couldn’t get back into his cage as Ward would pass to Coates who fed the ball to a wide open McLaughlin who dumped it in the empty net for the final nail in the coffin at 14:44. Final Score: Mammoth 10—Seals 7.
Being on the sidelines during the game, the focus on the Mammoth offense while they were on the end of the floor where I was shooting the game was clearly evident. While the defense was on my end, they were guarding their net keeper as well. They’re doing well in transition getting on and off the floor quickly. Dillon Ward has somehow over the past month found a way to expand his peripheral vision to make these amazing stick saves on the side where no one would think possible. He’s seeing the ball extremely well and if his defense can continue protecting him on the back end and the offense can continue to find ways to put the ball into the net, they should be able take this momentum into the game against Philadelphia on the 29th and come out with another win.
Dillon Ward notched his 50th career save against San Diego; Ryan Lee’s six-point outing represents his fourth five-plus point game of the season and the forward’s fifth-consecutive three-plus point performance.
DILLON WARD’S INCREDIBLE NIGHT IN GOAL HIGHLIGHT VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxxqRha3PEM&feature=youtu.be
“The last time we played these guys, our defense was way too spread out too much and tonight we were able to pack in it — we gave them the outside shots and that’s when Dillon Ward is at his best,” Mammoth Head Coach Pat Coyle said. “We left Dillon out to dry last time we played San Diego and I think our guys took that to heart and wanted it to be different tonight, and it was.”
Star of the Game:
Dillon Ward—55 SOG; 48 Saves; 7 GA; .873 Sv%
San Diego: 55 SOG; 20 SOFF; 69 LB; 11-21 FO; 2-3 PP; 4 PIM
Colorado: 41 SOG: 29 SOFF; 55 LB; 10-21 FO; 2-2 PP; 6 PIM
San Diego Frank Scigliano: 26 SOG; 18 Saves; 8 GA; .692 Sv%
San Diego Nick Damude: 15 SOG; 13 Saves; 1 GA; .833 Sv%
Colorado Dillon Ward: 55 SOG; 48 Saves; 7 GA; .873 Sv%
The Colorado Mammoth (5-6) have a bye-week and will host the Philadelphia Wings (6-3) on Saturday February 29, game time 7:30 p.m. EST.
The San Diego Seals (3-6) will host the Vancouver Warriors (4-6) at Pechanga Arena on Saturday February 22, game time 2:30 p.m. EST. If the Seals win, they will move into fourth plae in the West and out of the cellar. If they loose, they will fall a full two games behind the Warriors and four games out of first.
Di Miller, Correspondent Colorado Mammoth
Lacrosse is Awesome©