MAMMOTH PLAYERS ABUZZ AS TEAM EARNS PLAYOFF BERTH
One week after beating the previously undefeated Edmonton Rush, the Colorado Mammoth crushed the Minnesota Swarm, 18-12, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. to earn a playoff berth. The 18-goal output was easily a season-high (previous high of 14), as was Dillon Ward’s save-total of 51.
Mammoth forward Adam Jones scored four goals in the first 17:19 of the game. John Grant Jr.’s first of three goals was the 600th of his career, becoming the third player in NLL history (John Tavares, Gary Gait) to reach the milestone.
“It either means I shoot a lot or I’ve played a long time,” said a modest Grant. “Either way, 600 times I got lucky I guess?”
Once again, Colorado’s special teams were special. The Mammoth converted on two of three power-play opportunities, didn’t allow the Swarm to score on the man-up, and one of Jones’ tallies came short-handed.
Defenseman Dan Ball, who was released by Minnesota in training camp, got his revenge on Saturday. The 26-year-old posted career-highs in goals (2) and points (3) in the playoff-clinching victory.
“It felt awesome to come back and beat them!” said Ball.
Colorado’s offensive onslaught was consistent, scoring four goals apiece in the first and third quarters. The Mammoth notched five goals in both the second and fourth. Nine players in all found the back of the net for the visitors, as the team put forth its best goal-total in more than two years.
The regular season concludes for Colorado next Saturday at Philadelphia. On Sat., May 3, the Mammoth takes on the Calgary Roughnecks at Scotiabank Saddledome in Alberta in the West Division Semifinal. If Colorado wins the game, it will host a playoff game at Pepsi Center the following weekend.
“Slowly but surely, the team’s coming together,” said Grant. “We’re getting contributions from different players all the time. It’s great!”