Justin Ivey, Co-Editor
Lacrosse is Awesome©
The West Division Finals will have a Game 3 as the home team Calgary Roughnecks found a way to hold off a determined effort from the visiting Colorado Mammoth. After taking Game 1 in the loud house, Colorado started Game 2 on the right foot, but once Calgary took the lead they kept the Mammoth just out of reach for the remainder. Led by Tyler Pace (3G, 4A) and Tanner Cook (3G, 1A) the Roughnecks took the lead with the first goal of the second quarter and never let Colorado even tie again despite big efforts from Zed Williams (3G, 1A) and Connor Robinson (3G, 4A). Final Score: Colorado-12, Calgary-13.
Scoring did not come quickly to start this tilt as nearly seven minutes passed before the scoreless tie was broken. Despite several breakaway attempts and good offensive possessions, Colorado’s Dillon Ward (37SV) and Calgary’s Christian Del Bianco (32SV) turned away everything to start. It was Robinson who finally broke through, scoring on an overhand shot while breaking down the right side to put Colorado up 1-0 with 8:02 on the clock. Shane Simpson (1G, 1A) evened the score, taking a long rebound all the way to the cage from his defensive end and then Jesse King (2G, 6A) gave Calgary the lead with a powerplay goal and 5:27 remaining. The Mammoth would tie the game before the quarter ended as Warren Jeffrey (1G) took the ball coast to coast for the equalizer with 2:47 remaining. At the end of the first quarter, Colorado and Calgary were tied 2-2.
The Roughnecks made their move in the second quarter, which was also a low scoring affair. This time over seven minutes came off the clock before the first ball passed the goal line. Dan Taylor (2G) ripped a sidearm shot from up high after a good pick on his defender. Colorado was assessed a penalty during the celebration scrum, and right near the end Pace scored to put Calgary ahead two with 5:55 remaining. Colorado answered on their own power play opportunity when Williams danced his way to the net with some stick fakes before scoring with 3:19 remaining. The momentum did not shift though. With under 30 seconds remaining, Colorado turned the ball over and Zach Currier (1G, 1A) found the loose ball. He tripped, fell, got back up and ran to the net. His in-close attempt was blocked by Ward, but Cook was there to pick up the juicy rebound in front and in one motion he scooped and scored with 14 seconds left. At the half, Calgary led Colorado 5-3.
The scoring picked up after halftime, as desperation from both teams was evident. Pace started things off, extending the Calgary lead to three with 1:21 into the third quarter. Just over a minute later, Williams scored for Colorado and a trend started. The teams would trade goals for the remainder of the third quarter as neither could find momentum to start a run. Taylor had the next Calgary goal, catching a pass inside from King and burying it with 9:06 remaining. Just under four minutes later, Eli McLaughlin (2G, 3A) hit the net with a shot so hard from outside that it trampolined back out. Josh Currier (1G, 1A) was next up, rolling past two good screens and scoring on the run to restore the three-goal lead, but Dylan Kinnear (1G, 1A) brought it back to two with 2:49 remaining. He picked up a rebound off a Robinson shot and dove to get the opening to score. Zach Currier scored the final goal of the quarter, giving up his body on a dodge and dive to the net with 42 seconds left. At the end of the third quarter, Calgary led Colorado 9-6.
The back and forth continued in the fourth, but Calgary again started the scoring to pad their lead. King found the net for his second goal of the game just 1:18 in. Robinson answered to keep Colorado within reach, but on the next Calgary possession, Cook quickly got it back. Robinson completed his hat trick with 11:18 remaining and his wondrous individual effort goal sparked a Colorado run. Chris Wardle (1G, 2A) dunked the ball from behind the net during a bit of unsettled play just over a minute later and just over a minute after that, McLaughlin scored to get Colorado within one of the Calgary lead. The Roughnecks’ defense buttoned down and stopped the run, curt Colorado wasn’t giving up anything easy either. Finally, with 5:25 remaining, Cook buried his hat trick goal on a powerplay opportunity to give Calgary a bit of a cushion. The lead was extended just over two minutes later as Pace scored with a sidearm shot from the outside as both teams settled after transition. With just about three minutes left, Colorado faced a three-goal deficit and kept fighting. Ward ran to the bench with under two minutes remaining and Brett McIntyre (1G, 1A) found an opening to score because of the man advantage with 1:51 left. The Mammoth won the ensuing faceoff and reset with Ward heading to the bench again. Williams scored from outside on their second shot of the possession to bring Colorado within one with 1:25 left. Unfortunately, the magic stopped there for the visitors. Calgary was able to stop the remaining efforts and close out the game, forcing a Game 3 winner take all next weekend. Final Score: Colorado-12, Calgary-13.
The Calgary Roughnecks will host the Colorado Mammoth for Game 3 on Saturday, May 20 at 9:30 PM EDT.