Di Miller, Colorado Mammoth Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©
Featured Image Photo Courtesy of Colorado Mammoth
The Colorado Mammoth (1-0) have gone up against the Georgia Swarm nine times in their history and have dominated the Swarm winning seven of the nine match ups. With numerous changes to both rosters, fans are wondering if the strength of the teams would be affected. Last night the Mammoth showed that they’ve put together a strong offensive squad and Dillon Ward in net, who has proven himself as the starter for the Mammoth time and time again would outplay the Swarm when they needed to. Colorado would see seven different goal scorers in the game. Zed Williams would make his debut in a Mammoth jersey after having been traded from the Swarm during the pandemic and he would score the first goal of the season for his new team (although the stat sheets show incorrect information, the game footage shows otherwise so we are going off the actual game footage not the NLL stat sheets). Final Score: Colorado 16—Georgia 11.
Georgia would come out the gates early getting their fans fired up. Shayne Jackson (3g, 2a) lined up high to high far corner 57 seconds in putting the Swarm on the board 1-0. It was an offensive struggle for the next five minutes and the Mammoth would go man down for two minutes off an illegal substitution. But with Georgia’s offensive unable to get anything past Ward, Zed Williams (2g) got past two defenders and fired an righty bounce shot at 5:19 burning it past Mike Poulin (27 Sv) for the short-handed goal to tie it 1-1. (The NLL stat sheet is incorrect. The game footage shows that Williams not Lee scored the first goal). While still on the man down, Colorado would strike again. Ryan Lee (4g, 1a) would come flying in for the dish, dive in front of the net and hit far side at 6:35 for the go ahead goal 2-1. (Again the stat sheet is incorrect. The game footage shows Lee not Digby scoring this goal). Shortly thereafter, Tyler Digby (2g) would score on a second chance opportunity in front of the cage, fake high and go low hitting far side at 7:02 and the Mammoth would go up by two 3-1. The final tally in the frame came in transition from Eli McLaughlin (3g) on the give and go scoring in front of the cage far side with an over the top shot at 9:26. Score at the end of one: Colorado 4—Georgia 1.
Colorado would carry their run into the second. Connor Robinson (2g, 1a) who had come over in the trade from Saskatchewan did not disappoint. Robinson would fire one point blank over the shoulder of Poulin at 3:23 putting the Mammoth up 5-1. But it took less than a minute before the one and only Lyle Thompson (1g, 2a) would get on the board when he stepped and fired over the screen at 4:04 to stop the five-goal run 5-2 still in favor of Colorado. The excitement was short lived as Lee would notch his second with another airborne goal in front of the crease dunking it far side at 5:00 giving the Mammoth another four-goal lead. Unfortunately the Mammoth who had already been plagued by two previous penalties would not be so fortunate this time and the Swarm would capitalize. Jordan Hall picked up the loosie, passed it to Brendan Bomberry (1g, 2a) who would make his way down the field and fired one in front of the crease through the five-hole on Ward for the power-play goal at 6:38 getting them to within three 6-3 and the start of a three-goal run for the Swarm. Connor Kirst (1a) would get his first NLL career assist with a nice pass to Bryan Cole (2g) in front of the crease at 7:13 to get them to within two 6-4. Cole made sure to grab the ball from the net for the rookie’s treasure chest. Score at the end of two: Colorado 6—Georgia 4.
At the start of the third, Chad Tutton said that Georgia was ready to come out strong in the second half and they did. The teams would combine for a total of nine goals. Jackson would start off the second half the same as he did in the first notching one at 1:01 getting the Swarm to within one 6-5. The teams would trade goals for the first eight minutes with goals from Georgia coming from Cole and Jordan Hall (1g, 2a). Colorado would see goals from Lee and Williams. At the 7:52 mark, with the score still in favor of Colorado 8-7, the Mammoth took control and went on a four-goal run. Digby (hat-trick) would get the run started; followed by Lee (hat-trick); Joey Cupido (1g) for his first and only goal on the night; and McLaughlin closing out the frame at the 13:30 mark. Score at the end of three: Colorado 12—Georgia 7.
The Swarm were running out of time with only 15 minutes left in the contest so they needed to make every possession count. Colorado would keep the run going with a ricochet goal by Chris Wardle (1g) 28 seconds in. The shot went off a defender and with some “english” curved around Poulin and went into the net putting the Mammoth up 13-7. Once again, Colorado found themselves on another man down situation and Georgia was unable to stop their offense. Robinson somehow found a small opening glove side to beat Poulin at the 4:23 mark to double the score 14-7. At this point it was too much for Ed Comeau bench boss for the Swarm to handle so he made the move pulling Poulin in favor of Craig Wende who had been traded to Georgia in the off season. That gave them a bit of a spark and rookie Tanner Buck (1g) was able to get his first career NLL goal from the outside low to low at the 5:24 mark stopping the Mammoth six-goal run 14-8. Colorado would go on another man down and again would capitalize. McLaughlin (hat-trick) would beat his man far side going over Wende’s shoulder for another short-handed goal putting Colorado at the 6:08 mark up by seven again 15-8. Georgia would put up three straight. Jackson would get his hat-trick off a nice BTB pass from Hall at the 6:09 mark; Jordan MacIntosh (1g) would score at 7:59; and the final goal for Georgia would come with 1:38 left in the frame with Vaughn Harris (1g) scoring on end-to-end action off the fast break beating Ward near side 15-11 Mammoth. The Mammoth would put up the final tally with Lee sneaking in an empty netter and his fourth on the night with 42.6 seconds on the ticker. Final Score: Colorado 16—Georgia 11.
Three Stars of the Game:
Colorado Mammoth—Dillon Ward 53 Saves; 42 SOG; 11 GA
Colorado Mammoth—Ryan Lee 4G, 1A
Georgia Swarm—Shayne Jackson 3G, 2A
Georgia Swarm—53 SOG; 31 Saves; 11-28 FO; 1-7 PP
Colorado Mammoth—47 SOG; 53 Saves; 17-28 FO; 1-3 PP
The Colorado Mammoth (1-0) will host the San Diego Seals (0-1) on Saturday December 11th, 2021 at Ball Arena in Denver, CO. Game time 8:30 p.m. EST. This is the ESPN Game of the Week so the game will be televised for all viewers in the USA for free. The game should also be televised on TSN.ca & the TSN app in Canada.
The Georgia Swarm (0-1) will head to New York to play the New York Riptide (0-1) at Nassau Live Center on Sunday December 12th, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. EST. The game can be seen on ESPN+ in the USA & on TSN.ca or the TSN app in Canada.
Di Miller, Colorado Mammoth Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©