The Colorado Mammoth are set to take on the Calgary Roughnecks in Calgary at the Scotiabank Saddledome tonight. This will be the second meeting of the two teams within 15 days. Both games have been played in Calgary and the Mammoth are looking for their second win of the season and are hoping to come out victorious against the Rougnecks who currently sit in second place in the NLL West with a record of 2-2. They have 47 goals for and 54 goals against.
The Mammoth are at the bottom of the NLL West with a record of 1-5 with 62 GF and 68 GA. They’ve had a rough season in 2014. Of their six games, four have been close games with a one or two goal differential. Two of the losses were huge for the Mammoth, the worst being their loss to the Edmonton Rush on January 11, 2014 when they were held to a season-low six goals and a final score of 17-6. Granted, the NLL schedule has not been kind to them with the recent back to back home and away games last weekend, but the talent is there they just need to harness it.
According to NLL.com, of the top 20 players in the league, the Mammoth have four of the league leaders. Adam Jones #16 forward sits on top of the NLL with four records, including goals (16)—four of which were power play goals—assists (13), points (29), FTO (11), and SOG (60); John Grant Jr. #24 forward is currently fourth with goals (11)—three of which were PPG—assists (17) , SOG (57), loose balls (16); Drew Westervelt #26 forward is sixth with goals (13), assists (12), SOG (44), and loose balls (11); Sean Pollock #17 forward is 12th with goals (11) including four PPG, SOG (34), and loose balls (14).
Calgary has three. Shawn Evans #15 forward who is in eighth place with goals (4), assists (19), SOG (33), and loose balls (18). Jeff Shattler #77 forward is in 11th place with goals (11), assists (7), SOG (30), and loose balls (20). And in 16th place is Dane Dobbie #44 forward with goals (14) which includes PPG (5), assists (5), SOG (46), and loose balls (11).
With seven of the top 20 league leaders, all forwards in the NLL, do the Mammoth have the upper hand in winning against the Roughnecks?
Again, it comes down to defense, loose balls, rebounds and how the goalies can perform. The Mammoth still haven’t made a definitive decision as to who will start in goal. Clearly Rookie Dillon Ward #45 has better stats then veteran Tye Belanger #31. In six games, Ward has played 231:34 minutes to Belanger’s 130:42 minutes. Ward has 199 SOG, 153 saves, 46 GA, 11.92 GAA and a .769 save percentage. While Belanger has 104 SOG, 67 saves, 37 GA, 16.99 GAA and a .644 save percentage.
Then you have Mike Poulin #30 goalie for the Roughnecks. In the four games for the Riggers this season, he has played 200:09 minutes, has 166 SOG, 121 saves, 45 GA, 13.49 GAA and a .729 save percentage.
If you put Ward up against Poulin in not only GAA, but save percentages as well, Ward wins those stats. But Ward needs his defense to keep the Riggers high scorers in check and give Ward the support he needs. If the defense isn’t doing their job it puts too much pressure on the goalie to stop those shots. Ward is indeed a good goalie. He plays high, stays low, and blocks a lot of great shots. So the defense needs to step it up.
Fans will also get to see the Snider brothers go up against one another for the second time. Bob Snider #41 for the Mammoth who leads the league in FOW with 105, a 61.8 face-off win percentage, and leading the league in loose balls (74), versus brother Geoff Snider #4 who is tied for second with 65 FOW, a 58 face-off win percentage and second in loose balls (53). It will be another battle of the brothers. Which brother will win? I’m going with Bob!
It can’t be emphasized enough: The Mammoth have to play 60 minutes of consistent good lacrosse. They must figure out their third quarter problems, come up with loose balls, rebounds and make quality shots.
If the Mammoth can work together as a team, use their key veterans, take advantage of the young talent who also have speed and agility, continue to win face-offs and give the goaltender the defensive support they need, I think the Mammoth are itching for a win and this might just be their night.