The Colorado Mammoth will try to avoid getting stung as they face the Minnesota Swarm on Saturday at home. Colorado is coming off their worst loss of the season and will look to rebound against a young and hungry Minnesota team. The Swarm finished last weekend at 1-1 with both games being decided by a single goal.
The Swarm have had big seasons so far from Ryan Benesch (19pts), Callum Crawford (16pts), Shayne Jackson (14pts) and rookie Kiel Matisz (11pts). After his strong performance last weekend, Matisz was named the NLL’s Rookie of the Week. Another rookie, Brock Sorenson, scored his first NLL goal last Friday against the Rock in a heartbreaking loss for the Swarm. Sorenson took a pass from Benesch while driving to the net and then scored far side on a backhand shot.
Minnesota barely squeaked past the Stealth in their second game of the weekend, a game that saw the return of Swarm Captain Andrew Suitor. Suitor made his 2013 debut on Saturday after serving a two game suspension to start the season. Suitor looked sharp in his debut notching 2 goals, 1 assist and 10 loose balls. Suitor left the game briefly with a lower body injury but returned to score what would become the game winner. “I’m 100% (healthy) and can’t wait to get back on the field with the boys” said Suitor when asked if he’d be ready to go on Saturday in Colorado.
Colorado is hoping that a change in goalies will be the answer to their recent struggles. The Mammoth announced this week that they have released Chris Levis from the team and signed Dan Lewis from the practice squad. Whether it’s Lewis in net on Saturday or Matt Roik, John Grant Jr says it doesn’t matter, the Mammoth will be ready to play regardless. “We (the players) can’t worry about those things; our job is to show up to the rink ready to play every game” Grant said. When asked who he thinks should get the start in net, Grant didn’t bite, he simply replied “I’ll leave that up to the coaches”.
Goaltending wasn’t the only issue in Colorado’s loss last weekend; the Mammoth need to put more than 12 goals on the board in order to beat the Swarm. Colorado will look for another big game from sophomore Adam Jones. The 2012 all-star lit the lamp with 2 goals on 7 shots last weekend while also notching 3 assists. Captain Gavin Prout has been playing the role of set up man this season for the Mammoth. He’s tallied 15 assists in 4 games and will look to add to his totals this weekend at home.
Minnesota is stacked with talent but Grant said they can’t just focus on one guy. “Benesch has been their big gun but we have to focus on their entire team” he said. Grant continued by saying “transition goals were what bounced us out of the playoffs last year, that’s something we have to focus on”. Grant also said that he needs to play better and step up his game this Saturday. Grant scored 6 goals against the Roughnecks in week three but was limited to just one hat trick in the rematch against the Roughnecks. “I had three goals last week but I was absolutely atrocious” Grant said about his performance. Grant wants to focus on spreading the ball around more and is going to try and create as many offensive goals for his team as he can “I’m going to try and be more of a quarterback and not try to go to the net all the time to score” said Grant. When asked what tricks he has up his sleeve for this weekend Grant replied “hopefully a win”.
Colorado is winless at home this season and the Swarm have yet to win a game on the road; something will have to give when they meet this Saturday at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
The action gets underway at 9pm and as always, you can watch the game at http://www.youtube.com/user/TheLacrosseNetwork/Schedule