Rush Halts Mammoth's Pursuit for Top Seed
The Colorado Mammoth missed out on a chance to control its own destiny in the race for the National Lacrosse League's top overall seed Friday night.
Colorado endured a 14-11 setback to the Edmonton Rush at Pepsi Center, meaning the Mammoth (11-4) will be rooting for Edmonton to win again on Saturday night. The Rush takes on the Calgary Roughnecks (11-4), who hold a tiebreaker over Colorado.
The Mammoth needs a Calgary loss and a win in its own regular-season finale April 28 against Minnesota to capture the division and top overall seed. Colorado is guaranteed at least one home playoff game.
The suddenly surging Rush (6-8) won its fourth in five tries and put a damper on Colorado's ‘Fan Appreciation Night’ behind a steady performance in goal by Aaron Bold (49 saves on 60 shots). Playing without captain Gavin Prout, Colorado fell behind by as many as five in the fourth quarter and never seriously threatened.
“We weren't our best tonight,” Mammoth coach Bob Hamley said. “But give the other team credit. Aaron Bold and their defense were really good.”
The Mammoth's John Grant recorded six points (two goals, four assists) and will need six more in the finale to break the single-season record of 115, set by Buffalo's John Tavares in 2001.
Jamie Lincoln (2g, 3a), Derek Hopcroft (2g, 1a) and Jamie Shewchuk (2g) also registered multiple tallies for the Mammoth. Shewchuk was making his first appearance since being dealt back to Colorado in a trade with Minnesota.
No player scored more than three points for the balanced Rush, but four recorded two goals and one assist: Tom Johnson, Corey Small, Steve Toll and Zack Greer.
The Rush put the Mammoth in a precarious position entering the fourth when a goal from beyond midfield by Jim Quinlan put Edmonton up 11-7. Colorado had pulled goalie Chris Levis (38 saves) for an extra attacker and Quinlan accurately converted into the open net just before the buzzer.
“We were just awful,” Mammoth forward Sean Pollock said. “I think all week, after that Toronto game when we played so well, sometimes it gets in your head that it's going to be easy and you don't bring your work ethic. They deserved to beat us.”
Colorado, which ended its regular-season home schedule 5-3, played catch-up the entire evening after entering the second quarter ahead 2-1.
“We have to shoot the ball better,” Hamley said. “We were a little bit flat tonight. But we're still 11-4 and that's pretty good.”
Tickets to the team’s West Division Semifinal will go on sale on Saturday morning at 10:00am MT at the Pepsi Center box office, all Colorado Dick’s Sporting Goods retail kiosks, online at TicketHorse.com, or by phone at 303.53.HORSE.