Mammoth defeat Stealth 13-12; advance to western finals

Mammoth advance to western finals for first time since winning the championship in 2006.

Saturday night the Colorado Mammoth defeated the Vancouver Stealth 13-12 in front of 4,011 fans at the Langley Events Centre. With the win Colorado will now face the Saskatchewan Rush.

This will mark the first time the Mammoth have advanced to the west division finals since winning the Champions Cup back in 2006. Since winning the cup the Mammoth have gone 0-9 in playoff games in the 10 years since. They missed the playoffs completely in 2010.

The Mammoth started the game quickly. Goals by Zack Greer, Chris Wardle and Eli McLaughlin put the Mammoth up 3-0 before Corey Small would score his first of the night and the quarter would end 3-1. Teams combined for 25 shots and both goaltenders would come up big to keep the game close.

The Stealth would cut the lead to one as Corey Small would score again, but as we know this game is about runs. Colorado would go on their second three goal run of the game to open a four goal lead. Vancouver would not be outdone as they would start a four goal run in 2:52, three of the goals by Logan Schuss to tie the game at six. Joey Cupido scored with only a second left and the Mammoth took a 7-6 lead into the half.

The teams would battle tooth and nail in the third, with the Stealth tying the game twice, but every time they tied, the Mammoth would counter. Colorado would score the final two goals of the quarter to take a 10-8 lead. But just like the second and third quarters, the Stealth scored first to bring the game close at 10-9.

This would be the closest the Stealth would get. The Mammoth went on a final three goal run of their own to open a four goal lead with just under seven minutes remaining.

The Stealth never gave up. Corey Small put the team on his back and scored three more times to complete his sock-trick to bring the score to 13-12 with 1:11 remaining. With 17 seconds remaining, Rhys Duch and Logan Schuss made attempts to send the game into overtime, but the Mammoth defense held strong and vaulted them into the second round for the first time in a decade.

Logan Schuss’ nine points (3+6) and Corey Small (6+0) led the Stealth. While a bulk of the scoring for Vancouver came from those two players, the Mammoth wanted to share the wealth.

Callum Crawford (3+1) and Zack Greer (2+3) led the way for the Mammoth, while Eli McLaughlin, Joey Cupido, and Jordan Gilles also chipped in with two goals apiece.

Vancouver came into the season with a goal in mind, make it to the playoffs, and they did just that. Their nine wins and five road wins are the most since the team moved from Washington after the 2013 season when they went 9-7.

Rhys Duch was held without a goal for the first time in 27 games. Last time that occurred was on March 6, 2016 versus Buffalo in a 13-8 defeat.

Colorado will now face Saskatchewan in a two game series starting in Colorado Saturday at 9 p.m. Game two will be March 20 at 9:30 in Saskatchewan. Should each team win a game, a 10 minute mini-game will be played immediately following game two.