Mammoth Controlled Their Fate But a Fourth Quarter Comeback In Calgary Wasn’t Enough 4/30/22

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Di Miller, Colorado Mammoth Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©

Featured Image Photo Credit:  Candice Ward

It was Week 22 of the NLL Season and the Colorado Mammoth (10-8) headed to the Scotiabank Saddledome to face their Western Division rivals the Calgary Roughnecks (10-8) in front of their largest crowd to date. On Saturday April 30, 2022, 15,891 Riggers fans were in attendance for one of the most exciting games of the season.  Colorado was virtually holding the playoff cards in their hands for the Number One seed in the Western Division.  If they defeated Calgary, they would have the best record in the West.  If they lost, it would fall to Calgary or San Diego, so this was a “must win” for the visiting team.  Numerous records would be broken and milestones reached during this nail biter for fans on both sides but in the end, the Roughnecks would notch two empty netters in the closing seconds for the win.  Now all Colorado could do was wait for the outcome of the Seals vs. Warriors game to find out if they would take second or third in the West.  But once again, the stars did not align and San Diego would win dropping the Mammoth to third meaning they would have to head back to Calgary for Round One where history is not in their favor as Calgary has defeated Colorado 11 out of 12 times in  post season play.  Final Score:  Calgary 14—Colorado 11.

The game started out rough for the Mammoth as they’d get hit 6 seconds in with a roughing penalty on Zed Williams on the first face-off.  Curtis Dickson (6g, 2a) would capitalize on the man-up with a side arm snipe low to high when he got Ward to drop and went short side 48 seconds in 1-0.  Williams (2g, 1a) would tie it up at 3:03 with a couple of fakes, then fired a twister shot five-hole 1-1.  It took less than a minute before the Mammoth would take the lead. Eli McLaughlin (4g, 2a) on the back side fired an overhand shot and caught the inside pipe at 3:48  putting them up 2-1.  Calgary fired back at 4:36 when Tyler Pace (3g, 3a) on the run floated one over the shoulder tying it back up 2-2.  For the next seven and a half, both Dillon Ward and Christian Del Bianco stood on their heads between the pipes before the Mammoth found twine.  On the tic-tac-toe in transition, Ward passed to Jalen Chaster (1a), he sent the cross field pass to Chris Wardle (2g, 2a) and he dropped it low under the glove of Del Bianco for his 17th of the year with 2:45 in the first 3-2 Mammoth, the last lead they would see on the night.  With 1:35 remaining, Dickson with the stutter step used the screen to send a low bouncer to beat Ward glove side down low to tie it back up.  First Quarter Stats:  SOG—Mammoth 11  Roughnecks 10; Face-offs Mammoth 2-7  Roughnecks 5-7; Saves—Mammoth 7  Roughnecks 8.  Score at the end of One:  Calgary 3—Colorado 3.

(Photo by Candice Ward/Calgary Roughnecks)

The second was all Calgary as they would shut out Colorado.  It took a lifetime it seemed to get it going and after 9:07 the teams had combined for 8 shots on goal—Colorado 5 and Calgary 3 but none had hit net.  Until 7:38 when the Roughnecks found their stride.  Dickson who had closed out the first, would score the next four.  He worked the perimeter and fired a low to low shot five hole on Ward for a man up tally and his hat-trick on the night 4-3 Riggers.  The next was on an isolation swim move, he faked top side and went underneath for his 40th of the season with 6:46 in the frame 5-3.  His fifth on the night came from right out front, he had a nice stick fake, wrapped it around his defender and put another one under the stick with 5:09 to go 6-3.  Dickson’s would notch his sock trick with a shot around his defender that went under the glove this time with 2:58 left 7-3.  This was the second six goal game for Dickson this season and the Roughnecks had scored six goals on seven shots in the frame.  Pace would keep the momentum going  at 1:47 when he rolled back inside and found the back of the net under the stick 8-3.  At this point, all of the goals in the game had been scored by Dickson and Pace.  With 1:09 in the half, a different Roughneck would finally score.  Jesse King in transition would score with a bouncer shot five-hole giving them a six goal lead.  Second Quarter Stats:  SOG—Mammoth 9—Roughnecks 12; Face-offs Mammoth 3-7  Roughnecks 4-7; Saves—Mammoth 3  Roughnecks 6.  Score at the end of Two:  Calgary 9—Mammoth 3.

In the third, the fans would see three power-play goals and one shorthanded goal.  The Roughnecks defense has been keeping the Mammoth offense way outside and the Mammoth offense was not moving their feet.  At this point, Colorado has not scored a goal 17 minutes and 45 seconds so something needed to change.  Calgary would go man down early in the third giving Colorado an opportunity, but they’d give up a shorthanded marker to the Roughnecks.  Zack Herreweyers on the crease would score on the inside feed at 3:20 giving them a seven goal lead 10-3.  But the Mammoth caught the Roughnecks off guard and Connor Robinson (1g, 2a) all alone walked right down then open lane and fired it on the inside pipe for a power-play tally, their first goal in 21 minutes and 36 seconds closing the gap 10-4.  It would take almost five minutes before another goal found the back of the net.  McLaughlin would score for the Mammoth when Ryan Lee faked the hand off, passed to McLaughlin and with the crease dive dunked it over the shoulder for his 35th of the season tying his career high 10-5 with 6:12 left in the third.  Unfortunately for the Mammoth, they’d get hit with a double minor and the Roughnecks would capitalize on both.  King sent the pass to Haiden Dickson (1g, 1a) for the quick stick on the back door 11-5; and Pace would notch his hat-trick shooting through two defenders hitting top corner with 3:35 closing out the third.  Third Quarter Stats:  SOG—Mammoth 10  Roughnecks 13; Face-offs Mammoth 4-6 Roughnecks 2-6; Saves—Mammoth 11  Roughnecks 7.  Score at the end of Three:  Roughnecks 12—Mammoth 5.

Colorado would control the fourth starting it off with a six-goal run.  Ryan Lee (1g, 5a) with a crease dive would put it far side down low 30 seconds in tying the record set by John Grant, Jr. with 116 points in a single season.  Joey Cupido (1g) off the ensuing draw would grab the loosie, and stuffed it in the back of the net high to low 8 seconds later 12-7.  At the 1:44 mark, C. Dickson thought he had his seventh on the night but the goal was called back due to an illegal cross checking during the play putting the Mammoth on a man up.  Lee with the head fake, passed to McLaughlin and with the no look shot on the right side, put it far side for a power-play marker.  This also gave Lee the assist that broke the single season record as well.  Calgary would once again get hit with another penalty which did not make their fans happy and Colorado capitalized again.  This time Williams would score when he split the defenders and bounded one five-hole at 2:38 and the Mammoth were within three 12-9.  Zach Currier had just caused a turnover after that play giving him 62 on the season breaking the NLL record for most CTO in a season set by Kyle Rubisch in 2014.  For almost nine minutes, neither team would score as the net-minders held strong again.  Oddly enough it would be McLaughlin who’d break the drought again when he’d fake short side and pick the far corner for his hat-trick with 4:29 in the game 12-10.  With two minutes to go, Ward would head to the bench in favor of the extra attacker and it paid off.  Wardle got the bounce, went behind the net, jumped and dunked from behind under the left shoulder of Del Bianco with 1:43 on the clock 12-11 Roughnecks.  The goal was reviewed as are all goals under two minutes.  The goal was good so play resumed.  Colorado would continue on with the empty net and Lee tried to avoid the over and back, flipped the ball back at the midfield line and Eli Salama (1g) was the recipient, he headed down the floor scoring on the empty net 13-11 with 19.3 seconds to go.  The Roughnecks bench boss Curt Malasky called for a time out with 16.1 on the clock so they could run out the last seconds, but they chose to notch another and Mitch Wilde (1g) would score on the inside fee and put up another empty netter with 1.1 seconds on the clock.  Final Score:  Calgary 14—Colorado 11.

Colorado Mammoth—SOG 47; Saves 30; FO 14-29; PP 4-7; Assists 15; LB 48; TO 21
Calgary Roughnecks—SOG 44; Saves 36; FO 15-29; PP 4-6; Assists 25; LB 51; TO 11


The Colorado Mammoth (10-8) will head back to Scotiabank Saddledome to face the Calgary Roughnecks (10-8) on Friday May 6, 2022, game time 9:30 p.m. EST for Round One of the Playoffs.  History has not fared well for the Mammoth in post season play against the Roughnecks as they are 1-10 in the playoffs when facing their Western Division rivals.  The Mammoth will need to regroup and find a way to get their offense going early and often if they want to move onto Round Two.

Di Miller, Colorado Mammoth Correspondent
Lacrosse is Awesome©