Last weekend was a setback for the Colorado Mammoth, two losses in two nights. The team put that memory in its rear view mirror, picking up a 14-11 road win on Friday against a tough Toronto Rock team.
“Huge for us, huge for us!” said defenseman Greg Downing on getting back in the win column. “Everyone who’s played knows that in those back-to-back weekends you have to come out at least 1 and 1. We were 0 and 2, tough travel, tough loss against Saskatchewan – we just didn’t bring any energy against Vancouver. This is definitely a boost for the team.”
In a match-up of the League’s stingiest defenses and goaltenders, Colorado trailed for just 36 seconds, that coming at 1-0 early in the first quarter.
Callum Crawford (six points) and Stephen Keogh (five) each mustered hat tricks, and Zack Greer had a season-high five assists.
“I thought the offense really moved the ball tonight; the defense cleaned up a few things in the second half and shut them down,” said Mammoth assistant coach Dan Stroup. “All in all, I think it was a great team effort.”
Defenseman Ilija Gajic scored twice, his second a behind-the-back bouncer after cutting hard to the crease. That gave the visitors a 9-7 lead early in the third quarter. It was part of an exchange of 11 goals in which a Mammoth score was answered with a Rock tally of its own.
Crawford’s third goal – a power-play marker – four minutes, 16 seconds into the fourth proved to be the game-winner. Defensemen Jordan Gilles and Joey Cupido put the nails in the coffin.
Dillon Ward tied a career-high with his seventh win of the season while enjoying another night in which he denied 80-percent of the shots on goal. It was a homecoming for Ward, and 12 of his teammates. For Downing, the Air Canada Centre holds a special place in his heart.
“I always love playing here. I don’t have family or friends here but there’s just something about this place. Maybe the history in the building or something – I don’t know. Always a lot of fun!”
Eli McLaughlin’s goal gave him a new career-high. Jacob Ruest netted two beauties, and Chris Wardle had Colorado’s other marker.
Colorado (7-6) will host the West Division-leading Saskatchewan Rush next Saturday, March 25 at 7:00pm MDT at Pepsi Center on ‘Lacrosse Out Cancer’ Night presented by Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. Find seats at AltitudeTickets.com.