One week after a brilliant start on the road against the Buffalo Bandits, the Mammoth found themselves in some unfamiliar territory at home. Only leading for a few minutes the Mammoth fought against the tide for the majority of the game against a Vancouver squad playing their second game in 2 nights. The Stealth impressed the entire league by going on the road two nights in a row and beating tough division opponents, edging Calgary before heading to Colorado to down the Mammoth. Rhys Dutch was stellar in both games, Logan Schuss and Cory Small created match up problems for both defenses. Dutch tallied 9 points against the Mammoth netting 6 goals and adding three assists. The superstar seems to always play well in the Pepsi Center. A couple of his goals had the Mammoth crowd scratching their heads saying, “How did he do that?”
It was a treat to watch, but from the Mammoth bench the concern wasn’t solely placed on the defensive end. The big three of Grant, Greer and Crawford were held in check on the offensive end. Grant was held to 1 goal and 1 assist on the night, Greer only managed 3 assists. Crawford had 6 points with 1 goal and 5 assists. Not usually the norm for the three offensive threats for the Mammoth. The lone bright spot on the offensive end was Eli McLaughlin who scored 4 goals. This offense showed balanced scoring during week one, but failed to come out of the gates quickly as they did in Buffalo. They will need to solve their shooting woes after going 9 for 52 last Saturday night. Greer needs to find his groove as well, only managing to get 2 shots on net against the Stealth.
The offense will be without Grant this weekend as he was placed on the short term IR to make room for rookie Zach Herreweyers, a left-hander coming out of Loyola University. He will be one of 4 lefties dressed for Saturday night against the Black Wolves.
The Mammoth will need to shake off the disappointing home opener and focus on the Black Wolves coming to town. They are loaded with offensive talent and also have an All- Pro goaltender in Evan Kirk. Offensively, the scrappy Shawn Evans, who seems to play very well at Pepsi Center and Kevin Crowley who creates matchup problems due to his size and scoring ability, leads New England. Veterans Chad Culp and Brett Bucktooth support them. Both have a lot of NLL experience and can make you pay if left open.
The defense is big and aggressive posting 11 penalties last weekend against Rochester. If they want to be successful against the Mammoth they have to stay out of the box to have a chance. If the Mammoth can put pressure on the defense early and make them take penalties, Colorado’s shooters can get their hands free and shoot their way out of the mini slump.
Last week I picked the Mammoth to win their home opener. I will stick with them against the Black Wolves. I expect the Mammoth will not over look any opponent as they did last weekend. It was a humbling experience to give up 15 goals in their home opener and I think the defense will respond. The offense will get back on track and find the back of the net early and often.