Di Miller, Correspondent Colorado Mammoth
Lacrosse is Awesome©
Featured Image Photo Credit: Di Miller
The Colorado Mammoth (7-6) hosted the Rochester Knighthawks (2-10) on Sunday March 8, 2020. The Knighthawks had just come off of a disappointing loss in San Diego and only one hour sleep due to some chaos upon arrival in the Mile High City. But you wouldn’t have known that when they stepped on the floor. They would outscore the Mammoth 7-3 in the first half but lost that steam in the second as Colorado would come alive and outscore the ‘Hawks 7-1 in the second half and walk away with a stellar win. Tyler Carlson would get his first win in a Mammoth jersey and stop 37 of 40 shots; and Ryan Lee who has become a fan fave here in Denver would notch another hat-trick on the night and has a commanding lead in goals scored for the team with 25. Final Score: Mammoth 10—Knighthawks 8.
Rochester got on the board early and often in the first with Paul Dawson (1g) getting it started 43 seconds in with a shot from behind the transition line to get them on the board. Jacob Ruest (2g, 1a) would score the only goal for Colorado in the frame off a pass from Scott Carnegie in transition. Ruest in front of the crease would fire a shot over the shoulder of Steve Fryer to tie the game at one. The Knighthawks would stun the Mammoth fans with a five goal run with Holden Cattoni (1g, 2a) finding twine; and Turner Evans (3g) notching back-to-back tallies, one a beautiful no look behind the back shot which found an opening on the far side on Dillon Ward at the 4:19 mark. Cory Highfield would close it out for the ‘Hawks with a couple of back-to-back markers of his own, the first at 9:22 and the second at 10:43, both power play tallies. After the first Highfield goal, Head Coach Pat Coyle made the change in net pulling Dillon Ward in favor of Tyler Carlson. Score at the end of one: Knighthawks 6—Mammoth 1.
The Knighthawks would open it up in the second with Dylan Evans (1g) notching his first goal of the season at the 2:36 mark when he grabbed a loose ball in transition, passed to Matt Bennett streaking down the right side, and Bennett passed back to Evans for the quick stick finish increasing the ‘Hawks lead to 7-1. After six minutes of scoreless lacrosse and amazing net-minding at both ends, the silence broke with Chris Wardle (2g, 4a) halting the Rochester scoring barrage. On a miscue with the outlet pass, Wardle knabbed the pass and dove through the crease to bury it in the net at 8:10 giving the home team their second tally on the night. Less than a minute later, Tyler Digby (2g, 2a) would notch the first of two on the extra-attacker. Off the pass from Wardle outside the crease he buried a shot past Fryer getting Colorado to within four. At the end of the first half Rochester held the lead in shots on goal 25-24; loose balls 45-34; and power-plays 2-3. The Mammoth had a commanding lead in the face-off category going 8 of 12. Score at the end of two: Knighthawks 7—Mammoth 3.
The tides turned in the second half as the break was not kind to the ‘Hawks. Colorado would outscore the visitors 6-1 in the third with Digby scoring another tally identical to his second quarter goal, with an overhand shot over the shoulder of Fryer closing the gap to three. (T) Evans would notch his hat-trick on the night and first of the season at the 6:21 mark and that was it for the visiting team as they would be shut out of the remainder of the contest. The Mammoth would go on a six-goal run to close out the contest. Ryan Lee would notch his hat-trick in the third, two of which were his signature crease dive goals and the other from the outside with a laser shot. Wardle would score on the empty net back-door feed cutting the Rochester lead to one 7-6. Lee’s hat-trick goal would tie the game at the 11:52 mark and Colorado never looked back. Ruest would notch the go ahead marker on the two-on-one breakaway in transition giving Colorado the lead 9-8 with 1:46 remaining in the third. Score at the end of three: Mammoth 9—Knighthawks 8.
With 15 to go, the Knighthawks still had plenty of time for a comeback. But the fourth quarter would see only one goal and some of the best net-minding you could ask for. Both goal keepers stood on their heads and stopped the shots that came at them. Eli McLaughlin (1g, 3a) would notch his 15th on the year at the 8:26 mark in the frame with a diving goal giving the Mammoth a two goal lead and enough for the win. Rochester would go with an empty net and the extra attacker in the final minutes, but they could not penetrate the forcefield that Carlson had put up around the cage. Final Score: Mammoth 10—Knighthawks 8.
All in all, Rochester played one heck of a game after having come off a very disappointing loss the night before. We spoke with Mark Cockerton prior to the game. The guys were heartbroken about the loss in San Diego. It’s been a tough season and with an expansion team, you have a lot of rookies and of course you have those veteran players. It’s a learning curve for sure, but the season has been tough and the back-to-back schedule this past weekend, day-light savings time, the loss of the extra hour coming from San Diego back to Denver…you’ve got to give these guys credit because they came out strong and played tough.
Rochester: 52 SOG; 28 SOFF; 70 LB; 10-22 FO; 2-5 PP; 10 PIM
Colorado: 44 SOG; 22 SOFF; 60 LB; 12-22 FO; 3-4 PP; 12 PIM
Rochester Steve Fryer: 44 SOG; 34 Saves; 10 GA; .773 Sv%
Colorado Dillon Ward: 12 SOG; 7 Saves; 5 GA; .583 Sv%
Colorado Tyler Carlson: 40 SOG; 37 Saves; 3 GA; .925 Sv%
The Colorado Mammoth (7-6) have a bye week and will return to action on Friday March 20, when they host the Calgary Roughnecks (5-5) for Lacrosse Out Cancer Night in the Pepsi Center, game time 7:30 p.m. EST. In a highly contested West Division, every game counts. Calgary will host the Rush this Friday, so we’ll see where they sit in the standings at that point.
The Rochester Knighthawks (2-10) will host the Halifax Thunderbirds (8-4) on Saturday March 14, game time 7:00 p.m. EST. The Thunderbirds currently sit atop the North Division so this will be another tough contest for the ‘Hawks. But never underestimate the underdogs. They figured out how to outscore the tough Mammoth last night on little sleep so maybe they can figure out how to do it with a good night’s sleep this weekend.
Di Miller, Correspondent Colorado Mammoth
Lacrosse is Awesome©