Friday, the Colorado Mammoth were back in black and are back to 4-1 thanks to their special teams who notably improved since their first meeting with the Stealth. The Mammoth scored on 5 out of 8 power plays Friday night compared to scoring 0 out of 1 of their power plays in their season opener in Vancouver.
After seven minutes settling in, the Mammoth scored two quick goals on a fast break followed by a power play. The Stealth did not get on the scoreboard until the final two minutes in the first. The Mammoth finished the first with a 2-1 lead, leading after Q1 for the first time this season.
In the second quarter, Ryan Benesch scored his second power play goal only 1:02 in, 3-1 Mammoth. In the next five minutes, Cory Small scored twice for the Stealth, tying the game 3-3. Two minutes later, within 31 seconds of each other, the Mammoth and Stealth traded goals, 4-4. At 10:40, Vancouver took a 7-4 lead. Eli McLaughlin’s goal at 13:12 brought the score to 7-5. The Mammoth left the turf down by two.
After watching the first half, Mammoth defenseman Dan Coates said, “We haven’t played to what we’re capable of and we’ll look to tighten some things up heading into the second half. Our special teams have kept us in it.”
The Stealth brought their lead to 8-5 early in the third before the Mammoth chipped away on a power play with a hat trick goal by Benesch followed by two goals in eight seconds by Stephen Keogh and Joey Cupido, tying the game 8-8. On their first power play, the Stealth took the lead again, 9-8 and scored 15 seconds later for a two-goal lead. The Mammoth came within one to end the quarter 10-9 Stealth.
Throughout the fourth quarter, until the final three minutes, the Mammoth and Stealth traded both penalties and goals tying the game up three times to reach 13-13. Finally, with 31 seconds left, Noble’s hat trick goal sealed the deal for the Mammoth's 14-13 win.
Jacob Ruest said the Mammoth came away with the win because, “Everyone contributes. We didn’t give up. We veered away from the way we wanted to play for a while, but in the final minutes, we stuck to our game plan.”
Once again, multiple Mammoth players left their mark on the turf. Ruest passed his career high of 18 assists for a new high of 20. Noble scored 8 points (3+5) and Benesch wasn’t far behind with 6 points (4+2). Captain Robert Hope led the defense with 8 loose balls and 2 caused turnovers, while Dillon Ward suffocated the Stealth’s goals attempts with 38 saves.
Next Friday, February 2, the Mammoth and Rush clash in a rematch. Friday’s game will be the Mammoth’s Single’s Appreciation Night and will be the team’s only February home game. To find seats, visit AltitudeTickets.com.