In a road game against the Buffalo Bandits in icy Buffalo, NY, Colorado Mammoth forward Ryan Benesch heated up KeyBank Center by earning the tenth spot on the National Lacrosse League’s top-ten all-time points list. Benesch, who turned 34-years-old earlier this week, reached 960 regular season career points tonight with five points (one goal, four assists) against the Bandits.
This year marks the two-time All-Pro’s fifteenth season in the NLL and his second season with the Mammoth. Colorado acquired Benesch in a trade with Buffalo prior to the 2018 season.
Benesch currently leads the Mammoth in goals (13), assists (17) and points (30).
Despite battling back from multi-point deficits to knot up the game twice, once in the second quarter (4-4) and once in the third quarter (8-8), the Mammoth lost to the Bandits, 15-12, on Saturday night.
“I thought we worked hard,” said Mammoth head coach Pat Coyle. “We came out and didn’t have the best start, going down 4-0, and we battled back and actually tied it up at one point. It wasn’t our work ethic, it was our mental lapses that really hurt us. I liked how we worked.”
Eli McLaughlin, who notched two of Colorado’s three man-up markers on three power play opportunities, led the Mammoth in points with seven total (2 goals, 5 assists). Mammoth rookie Kyle Killen led the Mammoth in goals, completing his first career hat-trick and adding two helpers.
The second-straight road loss on Saturday night certainly stung for Colorado, but the night was still special, not only because of Benesch’s milestone but also because the team was able to raise awareness and funds in the fight against cancer.
Saturday night was Buffalo’s sixth-annual Tucker Out Lymphoma night. The night honored Tucker Williams, the son of former Bandits forward and current Mammoth offensive coordinator Shawn Williams. Tucker passed away in Dec. 2014 after a courageous 11-month battle with Burkitt lymphoma.
The Bandits and Mammoth players wore “Braver Than Brave” jerseys designed by Tucker’s brother, Dyson Williams. The jerseys are currently being auctioned online here until Monday, Feb. 4. Bidders do not have to be based in New York to win a jersey. The Bandits will ship jerseys to Mammoth fans in Colorado, if they place winning bids. Proceeds will go toward pediatric cancer care centers.
“To be honest, [the Bandits and Mammoth coming together] was overwhelming,” said Mammoth offensive coordinator Shawn Williams. “The way I was brought up in lacrosse was exactly that: before and after we’re all friends. Once the whistle goes, you go at each other. [The game] wasn’t the way we wanted it to end up, but it was a battle on both sides, and Tucker would be happy, obviously not for our loss, but for the way everyone battled, the way everyone played, and that we gave everyone a good game to watch.”