After a promising start to the season the Colorado Mammoth are sitting at a pedestrian 2-3 record and things are not looking like they will get easier for the squad. The undefeated Georgia Swarm roll into Pepsi Center on Saturday for a showdown with the Mammoth and it’s a big game for both teams. Georgia would love to keep their undefeated streak going and Colorado needs a big win to get back on track and back to .500.
After playing the same team in Calgary two weeks in a row the Mammoth welcome the change as well as the challenge to go up against the hottest team in the league. The Swarm are averaging 16 goals per game and are giving up an average of 11 goals per game. The offense is lethal and the defense is big and physical. They create transition opportunities and fast play out of the back end. The Swarm start fast and finish strong, out scoring opponents in the 4th quarter with 20 goals and only giving up 10. Lyle Thompson, Jordan Hall and Randy Staats anchor the offense. Thompson leads the team with 25 points with a balanced 10 goals and 15 assists. He is a dual-threat player that is so creative he can be hard to contain. Hall also has 25 points with 5 goals and 20 assists and serves as the set-up man for the squad. This is a team that can get hot fast and the Mammoth will need to battle to keep them in check early in the game.
For the Mammoth, the main area of focus is their slow starts and lackluster finishes in games. Their opponents have outscored them in the first quarter 15-11 and in the final frame 19-7. This is not a recipe for success and the team knows it. Defenseman Joey Cupido commented on the last loss to Calgary, “We got off to a really slow start. All three losses this season have been a very similar theme. We battled and we competed, but we dug ourselves a four-goal hole that we couldn’t climb out of.”
They will need to come out of the gates fast and find a way to feed off the energy the Pepsi Center fans provide. Veteran Mike Poulin has an 80% save percentage for Georgia so it will not be an easy task for the Mammoth. The offense knows it needs to be better. Eli McLaughlin leads the team in goals with 11; so far he is the only forward to break the 10-goal mark in five games. Look for the offense to take their shots early and often to get back on track. Sharing the ball has not been an issue – Callum Crawford has 22 assists along with his eight goals and Greer sits at 12 assists with eight goals as well.
Finding consistency and getting timely stops on the back end is the focus for the squad. The Colorado goaltending tandem of Ward and Buque sport a 75% save percentage. Ward has struggled down the stretch the last 3 games, but the team has faith in their all-pro goaltender. He knows that a 12 goals against average will not get the job done in this league.
It should be a great game Saturday night in the Loud House and the fans will get the treat of watching some great lacrosse. Both teams are in different parts of their season. The Swarm look to continue to dominate opponents in and outside of their division, while the Mammoth look to get back in the win column and show the rest of the league that they are contenders.