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Colorado and Calgary Rivalry: Round Two

Last Saturday night, the Colorado Mammoth and Calgary Roughnecks renewed one of the most intense rivalries in sports. And following suit, the game lived up to the hype. The Mammoth rallied back from a four-goal, 4th quarter deficit to win on the road in overtime. On Friday night, the teams are back at it, this time on HealthONE Field at Pepsi Center in Denver.

“It’s always good to move along after a couple losses, it’s nice to jell and come together on the road and what better place to do that than in a hostile environment like Denver,” said Roughnecks head coach Curt Malawsky. “We’ve got redemption on our mind; [Colorado] earned that win. We made key mistakes at the end which were forced by them. We didn’t execute when we had the opportunity to execute.”

In a match-up that features the league’s reigning MVP, Mammoth forward John Grant Jr., and the 2011 award recipient, Roughnecks forward Jeff Shattler, Colorado (1-1) looks to win the season series and distance itself from Calgary (0-2) in the West Division standings. Grant, and Mammoth reserve goaltender Matt Roik, were the story the first time around.

“Matt was steady for us all night and that’s huge,” said Mammoth head coach Bob Hamley. “In a game you need to have goaltending. You need to have all the facets to get your game going and we are very happy with what we got there in the second half. We played with a lot more energy in Calgary. It’s early in the season and we will ask our defense to keep improving this week.”

Roik, in reserve of starter Chris Levis, allowed just six goals. He held Calgary scoreless for the final 18:37 to secure the victory.

Grant, meanwhile, coupled a two-assist performance with a sock trick (six goals) en route to being named the NLL Offensive Player of the Week. But it was the late-game heroics of his teammates that won the game for Colorado.

“We’re just happy with the kind of heart we showed at the end of the game [and to] get a victory in a really hard place to play,” said Grant.

On Friday, the Mammoth looks to solve its face-off woes against Roughnecks transition player Geoff Snider, who limited Colorado to just three wins a week ago. Maybe a bigger issue has been the team’s slow starts thus far this season.

Colorado found itself in a 6-2 hole midway through the 1st quarter on Opening Night against the Washington Stealth. Against the Roughnecks, the Mammoth trailed by two 15 minutes into the game.

“Last game we battled back and won the game, but we can’t do that every night,” said Hamley.  “Any game you play, you need to get off to a good start and build that momentum as the game goes along.”

Strong finishes have paced the Mammoth through two games in 2013, outscoring opponents 10-2 in the 4th quarter and overtime. Such was the case in Colorado’s win against Calgary last Saturday. Could it happen again on Friday night?

Single-game 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.

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