The Mammoth will contest the Saskatchewan Rush at SaskTel Centre this Saturday in their regular season finale.
The division matchup between the Mammoth and Rush does have NLL Playoffs implications for both teams. There are two scenarios based on the outcome of the game:
If the Mammoth beat the Rush and the San Diego Seals beat the Buffalo Bandits on Saturday, the Seals will clinch the top seed in the Western Division, and the Mammoth will meet the Seals in the Western Division Semifinal on Monday, May 6, at 8:30 p.m. MT at Pechanga Arena.
If the Mammoth lose to the Rush or if the Seals lose to Bandits on Saturday, the Rush will clinch the top seed in the Western Division, and the Mammoth will meet the Rush in the Western Division Semifinal between May 3-5. A specific date, time and location for this playoff-game scenario has not yet been determined.
Last Time Out
On the Seals’ turf, playing without Eli McLaughlin and Cory Vitarelli, Colorado fell 12-7 to San Diego on April 19. Brad Self and Kyle Killen each found the back of the net twice. Adding two assists, Killen led the Mammoth with four points. Colorado dominated the faceoff circle in San Diego, with Tim Edwards and Dan Coates combining for 16 wins in 23 faceoffs.
Calgary silenced Saskatchewan with an 18-8 win in the Scotiabank Saddledome on April 20. With two goals against the Roughnecks, only forward Ryan Keenan notched more than one marker for the Rush. Mark Matthews scored only one Rush goal but assisted on most of his teammates’ tallies, posting five assists.
Last Time They Met
Saskatchewan raced to an early 3-0 lead and left Pepsi Center with a 9-7 win over the Mammoth, as well as the series tie-breaker, on April 6. Cory Vitarelli and Jeff Wittig notched two goals each for the Mammoth. Vitarelli, who added a one assist to his two markers, and Ruest, who racked up three helpers on the night, led Colorado in points. The Mammoth kept the game tight with their special-teams play, killing all three of the Rush’s power play opportunities.
In a Regular Season Finale
This Saturday will be the second time in three seasons in which the Mammoth and Rush have met in the final week of the NLL’s regular season.
In 2017, Colorado and Saskatchewan met at Pepsi Center on April 28 for what turned into a goaltending battle between Dillon Ward and Aaron Bold. The Rush narrowly won the contest, 10-9, with Bold saving 44 of 53 shots. Ward made 37 saves on 47 shots. In the contest, Eli McLaughlin posted the most points of any player on either team (6), scoring three goals and adding three assists.
What to Watch
The Mammoth have won most games – five out of seven – when they have held their opponents from double-digit scoring, but against opponents who score between 10-12 goals, their record is 1-5.
The Rush are 6-0 when holding opponents to nine goals or less. Against opponents who score between 10-12 goals, their record is 3-2.
In the regular season finale on Friday, it is likely that one or both teams will be held to nine goals or less. If either the Mammoth or Rush ekes out a 10th goal, that team is likely walking out of SaskTel Centre with a “W”.
Who to Watch
Colorado: Kyle Killen
Killen, who is on a 14-game scoring streak, has tallied the second-most goals (28) and the third-most points (49) among NLL rookies this season. With five goals on Saturday, which wouldn't be a stretch based on his past performance, Killen could surpass Seals forward Austin Staats to lead NLL rookies in goals scored this season. Killen is currently the league-leading rookie in the power-play goals column with 10 man-up markers on the season.
Saskatchewan: Jeff Shattler
Rush forward Jeff Shattler has notched four goals and two assists against the Mammoth in the two meetings between the teams this season. Four may not seem like a lot, but the teams haven’t played high-scoring games. With the Rush scoring a total of 18 goals against the Mammoth this season, Shattler’s four goals amounts to a threatening 22.2% of the total.