NLL: Keogh sparks Mammoth in New England

Anthony Joaquim of the New England Black Wolves defends against Ryan Benesch of the Colorado Mammoth. (Photo courtesy of the Colorado Mammoth)


In a Mohegan Sun Sunday matinee, the Colorado Mammoth beat the New England Black Wolves 19-11. In four seasons, Colorado has racked up a 6-0 record against New England. Four of those six wins were within two points, however, their East Division win this afternoon was one the Mammoth won’t soon forget.

Colorado (5-3) broke a two-game losing streak while handing the Black Wolves (4-4) their third straight loss. New England gave up a season-high five power play goals, and was penalized 10 times for 30 minutes. Colorado scored on seven of 11 power play chances.

Besides the Black Wolves’ penalty troubles, there were several important things to note from the game, including Stephen Keogh’s four goals and Ryan Benesch’s 500th career assist. Nick Chaykowsky also played his first NLL game for the Wolves, recording one assist and seven penalty minutes.

First star of Sunday’s game Benesch said in a team press release, “This was a great team win. Everyone on the offense contributed in big ways. Our defensive game was sound and Wardo made saves when we needed them.”

Benesch (2G/6A) also thanked his teammates after he heard that he surpassed his 500th assist.

“I had no idea I was even close to 500 assists,” Benesch said. “I guess I owe my teammates for scoring this afternoon.”

Keogh had only seven goals in six games so far this season but his offensive explosion that included three assists came at the right time for the Mammoth, who are looking to keep their second place position in the west over the Calgary Roughnecks.

The Mammoth started hot, building a 6-1 lead through the first quarter. They were up 4-0 seven minutes into the game against Doug Jamieson, making his first career start for the Wolves. Jamieson allowed 14 goals on 37 shots before Aaron Bold replaced him in the fourth.

The Wolves tied the game up in the second quarter, but the Mammoth seemed to exude a confidence on Sunday that showed the game was never in doubt. All the Black Wolves could do in the second half was play catch up.

Colorado took control of the game in the third quarter, outscoring New England 5-2 to carry a 13-9 lead into the last 15 minutes. Twice in the quarter, the Mammoth struck for two goals in roughly a minute. Eli McLaughlin and Chris Wardle scored goals 31 seconds apart in the third minute of the quarter while Zack Greer and Keogh had goals in a span of 1:03 midway through the quarter.

From the first face-off, the Mammoth showed progress in their transitions and power plays.

“Going into [Saturday night’s] practice, we decided we wanted to push the ball and the guys did a great job,” said assistant coach Dan Stroup on the Mammoth’s transition game. “They’re deciding by center what they’re going to do. If they’ve got the ball they push it and if not they wait for the old guys to get out there.”

In addition to Keogh and Benesch’s great games, Greer had eight points for the Mammoth who were led by Dillon Ward’s 44 saves. Jeremy Noble also contributed two goals and four assists. McLauglin scored a hat-trick.

Kevin Crowley led the Black Wolves with four goals and three assists. Shawn Evans had a pair of goals and four helpers. Stephan Leblanc contributed a hat-trick and one assist.

The Mammoth have a bye next week but visit the Georgia Swarm on Friday, March 2nd. The Black Wolves are in Vancouver to face the Stealth next Saturday.