PLAYOFFS ON THE LINE ON ‘FAN APPRECIATION NIGHT’
by Tyler Perlmutter
Five weeks ago, the Mammoth’s record stood at 2-7. Colorado had lost five consecutive games, and the defense and goaltenders couldn’t find a way to keep opponents’ shots from finding the back of the net.
Fast-forward to today, and Colorado’s improved defensive play has propelled the Mammoth to the distinction of the National Lacrosse League’s hottest team, winners of four of five. And with two games remaining in the regular season, Colorado needs just one victory to secure a playoff berth.
“A lot of credit has to go to Sean Ferris, our defensive coach,” said Mammoth head coach Bob Hamley. “He puts a lot of time in and works very hard with our guys preparing them for the week.”
Ferris’ goaltender, Tye Belanger, has been nothing short of spectacular since taking over as the team’s starter. In his first start, Belanger earned NLL Rookie of the Week honors. In his fifth (this past Saturday), the 22-year-old garnered the NLL Defensive Player of the Week award.
“Tye has come in and given us some stability at the goaltending position,” said Hamley. “We are going to keep riding our defense and goaltending as [far] as they will take us.”
“I have been improving my style in practice,” said Belanger. “I’ve been going hard every shot, every save. The defense is allowing me to see the ball outside in practice, and it translates into the game.”
On Saturday night, the Colorado Mammoth (6-8) takes on the Minnesota Swarm (6-8) at 7pm MT on HealthONE Field at Pepsi Center on Fan Appreciation Night with a playoff spot on the line.
The Mammoth and Swarm are familiar foes. Colorado defeated Minnesota, 15-9, back in February. But last May, the Swarm ousted the Mammoth in the West Division Semifinal. It just adds fuel to the fire for Saturday night.
“It’s always nice to get back at a team that beat you, and we did that the first time around,” said Mammoth defenseman Creighton Reid. “But we need to get the win to get us into the playoffs.”
The Mammoth Concert Series debuts at Saturday’s Fan Appreciation Night with performances from The Epilogues and My Body Sings Electric.
“It’s a real pleasure to be part of the (Colorado Mammoth) organization because of the fans,” said Hamley. “Our fans are the best in the league. Other teams try to replicate what happens here. A lot of teams would admit the Colorado fans are a pleasure to play in front of.”
Tickets start at just $10 and are on sale now at the Pepsi Center Box Office, all Colorado Dick’s Sporting Goods retail Kiosks, online at TicketHorse.com or by calling 303.53.HORSE.