Mammoth Drops Heartbreaker in Second Half of Home-and-Home Series Against the Rush 2/27/22

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Di Miller, Colorado Mammoth Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©

Featured Image Photo Credit:  Di Miller

The Colorado Mammoth (6-3) headed north to face the Saskatchewan Rush (3-6), in Saskatoon on Saturday February 26, 2022 for the second half of the home-and-home series.  It was Blackout jersey night and the 9,302 Rush fans would be treated to some “free” lacrosse as the teams would head into an OT frame with their team coming out on top 6:53 into the extra period.  Mark Matthews would also notch his 800th career point in front of his home town fans as well.  Just this week, the Rush acquired Eric Penney, former net-minder of the Philadelphia Wings and he would get the start over Adam Shute and Penney did not disappoint making 37 saves on 46 shots faced. While his counterpart Dillon Ward of the Mammoth would break his season high of 48 saves in a game surpassing that by a landslide having faced 72 shots and saving 62.  The Mammoth are now without their face-off specialist Tim Edwards as he went down with an off-ball injury during the Roughnecks game on February 11, and it was just announced on the NLL Transaction Report on February 20, 2022.  This played a key role during the game as the Mammoth have yet to find someone to fill that spot and during the contest Mike Messenger took complete control at the face-off dot winning 22 of 23 draws.  Final Score OT:  Rush 10—Mammoth 9.

The Mammoth would win the opening draw, the only one they would win the entire contest.  But the Rush would start the scoring off when Robert Church (5g, 2a) would let one fly straight up the middle beating his man on the run 3:32 in getting them on the board 1-0.  Chris Corbeil (1g, 1a) scored next at the 6:18 mark and the Rush had doubled the lead 2-0.  The Mammoth were getting the looks but hadn’t been able to find the back of the net thus far.  Austin Murphy (1g) on the run took it to the net and saw Ward off the pipe so he let one rip between the wickets to cap off the three-goal run with 4:25 left in the frame.  But the Mammoth decided to go with a bold move and pulled Ward in favor of the extra attacker (EA), they had some perfect ball movement, and Eli McLaughlin (2g, 1a) on the back door cut, fired a quick stick shot on the short side getting them on the board with 3:59 left 3-1.  But it was short lived when Church would use his defenders as the screen and fired it over the top to blow it past Ward only 28 seconds later.   The net-minders stood tall throughout the last three and change to halt the scoring.  Shots on goal at the end of one:  Colorado 11—Saskatchewan 19; Face offs   Colorado 1-6  Saskatchewan 5-6; Saves Colorado 15—Saskatchewan 10.   Score at the end of one:  Rush 4—Mammoth 1.

The Rush fans would continue to see scoring action from their team as Church saw an opening, pulled the trigger and hit top inside corner at the 3:00 mark for his hat-trick and they were up 5-1.  Colorado would get back on the board when Chris Wardle (1g, 2a) saw an opening on the inside and threw a nifty twister shot across his body to beat Penny at the 5:52 mark and it was 5-2.  The Mammoth would go on a man-up situation and 22 seconds in, Ryan Lee (2g, 4a) who is  well on his way to an MVP year, uncorked a laser and hit far side pipe for a power-play marker at the 6:54 mark 5-3.  With 2:02 left in the half, Jeff Shattler (1g, 2a) who we all know announced his retirement this season, creeped around the defense got the nice back door feed, and with a quick stick fired it near side pipe with the assist going to Mark Matthews, giving him his 800th career point and the Rush had again doubled their lead over the Mammoth 6-3.  With 52 to go in the half, Zed Williams (1g, 1a) came around from the outside and fired one from his wrong side around his defender near pipe to close out the half.  Shots on goal at the end of two:  Colorado 10—Saskatchewan 10; Face offs Colorado 0-6  Saskatchewan 6-6; Saves Colorado 17—Saskatchewan 7.  Score at the end of two:  Rush 6—Mammoth 4.

Photo Credit: Di Miller

There was very little scoring in the third, but this also meant spectacular net-minding on both ends of the floor.  The Rush would go man up early on off a holding call against the Mammoth.  It took 60 seconds before they’d score, but whom other than Church to put another up.   He saw an opening in the Mammoth defense and fired one top inside corner at the 4:28 for their second and final power-play tally on the night the hometown team was up 7-4.  Six and half of scoreless lacrosse would tick off the clock before Colorado would notch the final two.  Tyler Digby (3a) set the pick, then sent a nice skip pass to Lee on the run and he’d fire a laser far side glove side on Penney with 3:21 in the third 7-5.  The final marker came with 2:15 on the ticker.  As he was falling down Dylan Kinnear (1g) used a toe drag, tucked it down low and with a fantastic finish dunked it into the net.  Shots on goal at the end of three:  Colorado 8—Saskatchewan 16; Face offs:  Colorado 0-4  Saskatchewan 4-4; Saves Colorado 15—Saskatchewan 6.  Score at the end of three:  Rush 7—Mammoth 6.

Once again the Rush got on the board first and early.  Mark Matthews (1g, 3a) lept up, dove over the crease and fired it far side over the shoulder of Ward 1:37 into the frame 8-6.  Connor Robinson (2g, 4a) former Rush player would notch a highlight reel goal.  The defense collapsed, he spun backwards and backhanded it into the net from in tight at the 3:50 mark 8-7.  But it only took 17 seconds before that marker was erased as Ryan Keenan (1g) on the crease used a fist pump, then used the quick stick to fire it far side 9-7.  Once again, we’d go almost eight minutes without a goal as the men between the pipes stood on their heads.  The net minding in this game was spectacular.  With 2:27 remaining, on a second chance effort, Robinson out in front of the net, picked up the garbage and as he was falling down with defenders draped all over him, sent a behind-the-back shot into the net for a short-handed goal to close the gap 9-8.  With 40.5 left in the frame, Colorado called a time out and went with the empty net and the EA and it paid off.  McLaughlin got the nice skip feed from Williams and from up top through traffic blew it past Penney who had no chance of stopping the shot and we were tied.  Neither team could risk going with an empty net and both net minders held strong sending the game into OT.  Score at the end of regulation:  Mammoth 9—Rush 9.

At the end of regulation Dillon Ward had faced 66 shots and made 57 saves.  Eric Penney had faced 41 shots and made 32 saves.

Heading into OT the fans would see a track meet for the first few minutes and Colorado had two missed opportunities to win the contest.  Joey Cupido had a fast break but could not score on Penney.  Then a couple minutes later, Dillon Ward sent a nice outlet pass to Cupido on the break, but once again, Penney read the play perfectly and denied the Mammoth for a second time.  As the clock hit 6:53 Church on the run, from way outside fired one at the net and found the inside pipe for the game winning goal.  Final Score OT:  Rush 10—Mammoth 9,


Colorado Mammoth—SOG 46; Face-offs 1-23; Saves 62; Assists 15; LB 65; PP 2-2
Saskatchewan Rush—SOG 72; Face-offs 22-23; Saves 37; Assists 12; LB 82; PP 2-4


The Colorado Mammoth (6-3) have a bye-week and will return home to host the Panther City Lacrosse Club (2-8) at Ball Arena on Friday March 11, 2022, game time 9:30 p.m. EST.  Fans in the USA can see the action on ESPN+.  Fans in Canada can watch the game on or the TSN app.

The Saskatchewan Rush (3-6) will head down to Ft. Worth, TX to play the Panther City Lacrosse Club (2-8) at Dickies Arena on Saturday March 5, 2022, game time 8:30 p.m. EST.  Fans in the USA can see the action on ESPN+.  Fans in Canada can watch the game on or the TSN app.

Di Miller, Colorado Mammoth Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©