Mammoth Drops Opener to Stealth in Feisty Affair
In a game of runs, the Washington Stealth got the last laugh on HealthONE Field at Pepsi Center on Saturday night. The Colorado Mammoth dropped its season opener to Washington, 17-13.
Leading 10-8 entering the third quarter, Washington forward Dean Hill scored a natural hat trick. Forwards Lewis Ratcliff, Rhys Duch and Cliff Smith put the game out of reach. The Stealth outscored the Mammoth, 6-0, in the stanza to take a commanding 16-8 advantage.
Colorado tried to claw back in the final frame, cutting Washington’s lead in half thanks in part to a five-minute elbowing penalty on rookie Tim Henderson. But it wasn’t enough.
“You dig yourself in a hole. It’s hard to get back out,” said transition player Richard Morgan, who had a goal and an assist in his Mammoth debut. “As the game went on, we got better. Momentum was going our way, but it was just too late.”
With 11 seconds remaining in regulation, Colorado defenseman Chet Koneczny and forward Sean Pollock got into a fight with Washington’s Curtis Hodgson and Matt Beers. Eight seconds later, Mac Allen went to blows with Stealth rookie Justin Pychel.
“We’re not going to lie down – that’s for sure,” said Mammoth goaltender Matt Roik. “There’s a lot of fire, there’s a lot of tenacity, there’s a lot of heart in this room. We’ve got a chip on our shoulders. We’re definitely not happy with the results of what happened tonight.”
Reigning NLL MVP John Grant Jr. paced Colorado with three goals and three assists. Smith shined in his return to the Mile High City, netting four scores and three helpers.
The Stealth had scoring runs of six, four and four, while the Mammoth scored four straight twice in the game.
In a rematch of the top two teams from the 2012 regular season, Colorado (0-1) takes on the Calgary Roughnecks (0-1) next Saturday, January 19 at 7pm MST at Scotiabank Saddledome in Alberta.