POWELL STARS IN RETURN TO COLORADO
The Colorado Mammoth welcomed former league MVP Casey Powell back with open arms after his early-season hiatus from the organization. In his return to the field, the 37-year-old stole the show as the Mammoth defeated the Minnesota Swarm, 14-12, on HealthONE Field at Pepsi Center on Saturday night.
Powell led all scorers with nine points, which included a first-half hat trick. His behind-the-back assist to two-time NLL MVP John Grant Jr. (who buried the shot after catching the pass with one hand on his stick) with 2:18 remaining in the fourth quarter proved to be the game-winner.
“You bring a guy like Casey in, you know he’s a feed-first guy and the guy has incredible vision,” said Grant. “We just matched eyes, I got my hand free, and the rest is history.”
The assist for Powell was one of his six helpers on the evening. Meanwhile, his three goals were all on special teams. His first came with less than a minute remaining in the opening period to tie the game at four. The second, in the second, was a short-handed tally. The third came with less than a second to go before halftime.
“It’s great to be back in this building,” said the West Carthage, N.Y. native. “It’s the energy and excitement to play for this organization that brought me back.”
While Powell stole the show, he wasn’t alone in last-second heroics. After the NLL’s leading scorer, Adam Jones, went out with an injury late in the third quarter, transition player Cam Holding scored with less than a second left in the third to tie the game at 10.
“To get that goal and build momentum going into the fourth, that was huge for our team,” said Holding.
The Mammoth never trailed in the final frame. After Swarm forward Dane Stevens tied the game at 11, Colorado scored three straight to put the game away.
During pre-game introductions, the Mammoth showed a pre-recorded tribute video to Powell that was inspired by the movie ‘Rudy’. Active players offered up their numbers to the veteran before a surprise appearance by legend Gary Gait, whose number-22 jersey was the first to be retired by the franchise. In the video, Gait said that Powell should wear the number-22 that both made famous years ago while playing collegiately at Syracuse University.
As for the video? “I got to watch it. To have Gary Gait’s blessing – my idol – it was one of the highlights of my career. No doubt about it! I wore it proudly and got the win; that one’s for you, Gary.”