No. 4 seed Colorado Mammoth and No. 3 seed Calgary Roughnecks meet in the West Division Final at 7:00 p.m. MT on Friday at Scotiabank Saddledome. The winner of the one-and-done contest will advance to face the winner of the East Division Final, either the Buffalo Bandits or the Toronto Rock, in the best-of-three NLL Finals series.
Last Time Out: West Division Semifinal
Outscoring the Saskatchewan Rush 6-3 in the fourth quarter propelled the Mammoth from a 7-5 deficit to a 10-10 tie at the final buzzer in the West Division Semifinal last Friday, May 3. In extra time, Joey Cupido’s transition goal sealed the Mammoth’s 11-10 victory over the Rush.
In his first postseason appearance, Ryan Lee led the Mammoth with six points from three goals and three assists in the win. Jacob Ruest completed a hat trick and added two assists for five points. Eli McLaughlin also posted five points with two goals and three helpers.
In the West Division Semifinal matchup between the Calgary Roughnecks and the San Diego Seals on Monday, May 6, the Roughnecks met the Seals in Pechanga Arena for what would be a close contest from start to finish. Calgary’s Curtis Dickson opened the game with a quick goal 25 seconds into the game, and the Seals answered with a three-goal run. From there, the game of runs went back and forth, but Calgary never claimed the outright lead until the end. At 4:33 in the final frame, a Roughnecks tally by Riley Loewen leveled the game 11-11. A few minutes later, at 7:04, Dickson scored what would stick as the game-winning marker, lifting the Roughnecks to a 12-11 win; their second-straight West Division Semifinal victory.
Last Time They Met
2018-19 Regular Season
The Mammoth beat the Roughnecks 11-9 and took the 2018-19 three-game series win at Scotiabank Saddledome on March 16. Ryan Lee and Kyle Killen each netted hat tricks in the game. Eli McLaughlin led the team with five points from two goals and three assists.
2018 NLL Playoffs
The Mammoth leaped to a convincing 7-3 lead by halftime in the West Division Semifinal on May 5, 2018 at the Loud House, but the game was far from over. In the third quarter, the Roughnecks outscored the Mammoth 6-2, Wes Berg and Dane Dobbie netting two goals apiece in the frame, leveling the game at 9-9. With a clean slate in the fourth quarter, the teams battled back and forth, bringing the score to 12-12 by 10:35. At 12:17, Dickson scored to give Calgary the lead, then, two minutes later, he shot on an empty Mammoth net to extend his team's lead to 14-12. With six seconds left on the clock, Mitch Wilde scored a final empty-net goal, elevating the Riggers to a 15-12 win, Calgary ended Colorado’s playoffs run and advanced to the West Division Final.
What to Watch
In the three-game series between Colorado and Calgary, Roughnecks goalie Christian Del Bianco edged Mammoth goalie Dillon Ward for the higher save percentage. Del Bianco came away with a percentage of 0.789, while Ward’s percentage was 0.785.
In the postseason, the goalies’ statistics are still similar. In Colorado’s Division Semifinal win, Ward made 44 saves on 54 shots. Nearly matching Ward’s numbers, Del Bianco made 43 saves on 54 goals in Calgary’s Division Semifinal win.
Both goalies have been excellent over the past five months, and both goalies know that to play one month more they will need to play a near-perfect game on Friday.
Who to Watch
The Mammoth will enter the Saddledome this Friday in the same position they were in when they entered SaskTel Centre last Friday: as the underdogs.
The Mammoth have never beat the Roughnecks on the road in a playoffs matchup, and they haven’t beat the Roughnecks at home in a playoffs matchup since an 18-17 overtime win at Pepsi Center on April 22, 2006.
It’s clear that the Mammoth will be the underdogs in Friday’s fight, yes. But it’s very possible that this young Mammoth team will exit the Saddledome in the same position they were in when they left SaskTel Centre last Friday: as the winners.
The West Division Final is slated for Friday, May 10 at 7:00 p.m. MT. Local fans can watch the game broadcast live on Altitude. Nationally, fans can live-stream the game on Bleacher Report Live and on Fanseat. NLL Playoffs Pre-Game LIVE will begin at 6:30 p.m. MT and will be broadcast on Bleacher Report Live and on the NLL's Facebook and Twitter (@NLL) pages.
The Mammoth will host Division Final watch parties at two Denver metro area locations. For more information, click here.