ARCH-RIVALS MEET IN WEST DIVISION SEMIFINAL
The Colorado Mammoth opens the 2014 Champion’s Cup Playoffs on the road against the Calgary Roughnecks this Sat., May 3 at 7:00pm MT. The West Division Semifinal will be the fourth meeting of the year between the teams, with Colorado owning a 2-1 series advantage during the regular season.
“It’s no secret that our two teams don’t like each other,” said Mammoth forward Sean Pollock. “I respect the hell out of them, but I don’t care for them. It’s two good teams with two really good draw guys — the two best draw guys in the league. You’ve got a very good rookie goalie (Dillon Ward) on our [side] and a solid veteran goalie (Mike Poulin) for them. So, it’s going to be a great game.”
All three contests this season lived up to the billing. After the Roughnecks scored a two-goal victory over the Mammoth in early January, Colorado responded with two overtime wins.
“It’s going to be an awesome game,” said Mammoth assistant captain Dan Coates. “Every time we’re up in Calgary, it seems like we go to overtime.”
An extra frame was needed the last time the teams met in Denver as well, with Pollock scoring the game-winner on ‘Lacrosse Out Cancer’ Night.
Both squads peaked late in the season. Colorado has won three straight, while Calgary finished the campaign with six wins in its last seven games.
“We are feeling more and more confident in our game the last four weeks or so,” said Pollock. “It starts with Dillon [Ward]. He’s been big in net, making all the saves he should. That gives our [defense] confidence, and they play tighter and don’t give the other team very many good looks. That, in turn, gives the offense confidence knowing that we can take a few chances here and there, [so] we don’t have to squeeze our sticks as much. It’s going to be fun and tough, but that’s playoff lacrosse right there.”
Ward boasted a .796 save percentage in April, and was an NLL Rookie of the Month nominee. On Saturday, he’ll face the NLL’s top-scoring offense.
“[Calgary is a] great team and very dangerous,” said Mammoth coach Dan Stroup. “They’ve got a lot of weapons up front, and in the back they play good [defense] and run the floor. They’re much like our team.”
If Colorado defeats Calgary in the one-game West Division Semi-Final, it will host the Edmonton Rush in Game One of the West Divison Finals next Sat., May 10 at 7pm MT on HealthONE Field at Pepsi Center. Edmonton hosts Game Two on Fri., May 16 at 8pm MT. The winner of the series will advance to the Champion’s Cup Finals.
The game will air live on The Lacrosse Network on YouTube.