Though “B.C. Boys” Chris Wardle (three goals) and Eli McLaughlin (two goals, two assists) racheted up the Colorado Mammoth’s momentum in the first three quarters of their road game against the Vancouver Warriors on Saturday night, the Mammoth suffered an 11-10 overtime loss at Rogers Arena.
For the first time this season, the Mammoth never trailed in regulation. The team took off on their longest run of the night in the second quarter, outscoring the Warriors 4-1. Notably, Brent Adams scored his first goal of the season on that run, bouncing in a five-hole shot off the face-off.
With a combined total of five goals in the game, Mammoth forwards Ryan Benesch (two goals, four assists), Ryan Lee (one goal) and Eli McLaughlin extended their 2018-19 scoring streak to at least one goal apiece through five games.
In the second quarter, Lee tapped-in his sixth goal of the season off of a hard pass from McLaughlin, passing the number of goals he posted in his rookie season (5 goals).
Within four minutes of Lee's goal, Benesch scored his second goal of the night, tying NLL legend Paul Gait for the eleventh-most NLL regular-season all-time goals scored (410 goals).
“I think [tonight] was a tough break,” said Benesch. “I thought the first half of the game we were on fire. Second half, not so much. We let our foot off the gas, we let them back in the game and, once they got their momentum, we didn’t stop them. So, that’s on us. That’s on the offense, I think. Defense and Wardo played great. Offensively, we need to be a lot better.”
Mammoth head coach Pat Coyle said, "I think we took our foot off the gas in the second half, there. They outworked us and I think we were we were already thinking we had the win in hand. That’s what it felt like.
“[We need to focus on] little things. Even that goal in overtime, [defensive] guys were thinking about offense first. Dillon Ward is one of the best goalies in the league. We need to support him instead of thinking about going and scoring goals.”
"That goal in overtime" was a missile fired by Vancouver's Logan Schuss. In German, "schuss" literally means "shot", which couldn't have been more fitting of the Warriors Assistant Captain, especially in the game's final minutes.
Snapping a two-game scoring skid, Schuss came back with a vengeance against the Mammoth on Saturday night. Leading his team with five points (four goals, one assist), Schuss knotted the game 10-10 at 12:17 in the final frame with his hat-trick completion. Schuss’ fourth marker was the overtime game-winner, scored 44 seconds into overtime.
Though Schuss was able to get one past him when it counted most, Ward played another formidable game in-net for the Mammoth, saving 39 of 50 shots, and bringing his total to 177 saves this season.
The Mammoth continue their road trip on the east coast next Saturday, Feb. 2, taking on the Buffalo Bandits at KeyBank Center during Buffalo's Tucker Out Lymphoma night. Fans can live-stream the game on Bleacher Report Live at 5:30 p.m. MST.