The Colorado Mammoth will host the Calgary Roughnecks on Saturday March 8, 2o14 at The Pepsi Center in Denver for their Lacrosse Out Cancer Night. The Western Division rivals will face-off for their final game of the 2014 regular season, both hoping to win the series. Since 2005 the teams have equaled each other in wins and losses with nine on both sides. In the previous two meetings of the teams this season, both games were close with the Mammoth losing at home on January 10 by the score of 13-11, but evened up the series with an OT win against Calgary on January 25 at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The question is who will win the regular season series in 2014? The Mammoth are coming off a two-game losing streak with a record of 4-7, while Calgary is on a four-game winning streak with a record of 6-3.
The Mammoth have made some major changes this week, the biggest being the coaching change. On March 4, GM Steve Govett announced that Head Coach Bob Hamley and Assistant Coaches Ed Comeau and Sean Ferris have been relieved of their coaching duties effective immediately. They have been replaced by former Mammoth players Pat Coyle, Chris Gill, and Dan Stroup who will man the bench as interim coaches and will work collectively as a team.
Also announced was the return of veteran forward Jamie Shewchuk who was signed to a one-year agreement, and added to the team’s 20-man active roster on Thursday March 5, 2014. The 28 year-old was a second-round draft pick by Colorado in the 2006 NLL Entry Draft. This is Shewchuk’s third stint as a Mammoth player, with 111 goals, and 143 assists during his time with the team. The Edmonton native also played for the Minnesota Swarm, and is just two points shy of 300 in his career. He led the Mammoth with 31 goals and 66 points in 2010.
Photo Credit: Dan Brodie
In Week 10, according to NLL.com, seven of the players between these two teams made the Top Ten Plays of the Week. Calgary defenseman Curtis Dickson #17, had the ninth best play; Mammoth forward Drew Westervelt #26, was number seven; Calgary goaltender Mike Poulin #30 came in sixth, which also made him the leader in all-time saves for the Roughnecks; Mammoth transition Mat MacLeod #15 had an amazing slam dunk shot, giving him the fifth spot; Dickson was also in third giving him a hat-trick in their win against Toronto; Calgary forward Dane Dobbie #44 ended up second with an amazing behind the back shot, and a hat trick; and the top spot went to Mammoth forward Casey Powell #22 with his behind the back shot which went through the legs of netminder Matt Vinc.
The top four players on Calgary are forwards Dane Dobbie #44 (26 G, 16 A, 7 PPG, 15 LB, 76 SOG); Jeff Shattler #77 (17 G, 23 A, 7 PPG, 32 LB, 71 SOG); Curtis Dickson #17 (15 G, 11 A, 19 LB, 66 SOG); and Shawn Evans #15 (10 G, 41 A, 1 PPG, 34 LB, 64 SOG).
Leaders for the Mammoth are forwards John Grant Jr. #24 (23 G, 34 A, 6 PPG, 2 SHG, 32 LB, 118 SOG, and 2 MVPs); Drew Westervelt #26 (22 G, 19 A, 3 PPG, 22 LB, 80 SOG); Sean Pollock #17 (14 G, 15 A, 4 PPG, 1 SHG, 31 LB, 50 SOG); and Casey Powell #22, who has given the Mammoth a boost while in only four games after his return to the Mammoth (6 G, 15 A, 2 PPG, 1 SHG, 11 LB, 32 SOG, and 1 MVP).
The battle of the Snider brothers will happen for the third time this season. Mammoth defenseman/face-off specialist Bob Snider #41 (1 G, 3 A, 8 SOG, 113 LB, and a 58 face-0ff win percentage) still sits in first place in NLL league leaders with 177 FOW. Calgary transition Geoff Snider #4 (9 G, 7 A, 21 SOG, 105 LB, 146 FOW, and a 64 face-off win percentage) sits in second place.
Both goaltenders, Dillon Ward #45 for the Mammoth (399 SOG, 302 saves, and a save percentage of .757), and Mike Poulin #30 for the Roughnecks (338 SOG, 250 saves, and a save percentage of .740) will give shooters on each team a tough time putting the goal in net.
The question that comes to mind is which team wants the win more? Colorado has an extremely talented roster, and wants to show the skeptics that they have what it takes to be contenders in the NLL. Calgary is on a winning streak, and confident they will come away with the win. Mammoth fans will be on the edge of their seats this Saturday cheering their team onto a victory, and the series win between these Western Division rivals.