What a difference a week makes in the NLL. After dropping two games in a row to Calgary, the Colorado Mammoth responded with a big win at home over previously unbeaten Georgia 14-10.
Georgia was averaging 16 goals per game before traveling to Denver. So how did the Mammoth do it?
The Mammoth outshot the Swarm 50-37. Taking their shots early and often proved to make a huge difference. After a 1-1 first quarter the Mammoth exploded with a seven goal 2nd quarter. Eli McLaughlin, Callum Crawford and Zach Greer all tallied in the quarter and the Mammoth rode the momentum into the half leading 8-5. After facing a bit of a slump the Mammoth offense responded with balanced scoring from its forwards. Crawford tallied 8 points on the night with three goals and five assists, Greer went three and one and McLaughlin went two and three on the night. The trio also got support from Chris Wardle and rookie Jacob Ruest, both scoring two goals on the night. It was important for the Mammoth offense to show up on Saturday, and they did.
The Mammoth defense frustrated the Swarm shooters by always having a stick in their hands. Numerous times the Swarm missed the cage due to pressure. This allowed Dillon Ward to swallow up outside shots. In the first quarter alone, the Mammoth defense knocked down or tipped six shots. This accounted for a lot of shots off cage and kept Ward comfortable in the net.
In a game of runs, the Swarm were only able to string multiple goals together twice. In the second quarter Miles Thompson scored on the power play, followed by his brother Lyle; then once again at the end of the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach. The Mammoth always had an answer on the offensive end just when it looked like the Swarm shooters were about to go on a run. It’s hard to build momentum when you can’t get a stop on the defensive end. Colorado went on its huge run in the second and limited the Georgia offense to one goal in the first and one goal in the third.
The Mammoth needed a response after their two game skid against Calgary and they showed they can contend with the East. Now they need to beat some division opponents. They currently sit in third place at 3-3 in the West Division, a half game back from Calgary, who already has two games in hand against the Mammoth. The next two games against Vancouver and Saskatchewan will be huge to keep them in the thick of things in the division.