In the Mammoth’s regular-season finale Saturday night against the Toronto Rock, both the Mammoth and the Rock took the turf with a different purpose. Colorado sought to secure the second seed overall while Toronto sought to secure their spot in the NLL Playoffs.
In the first quarter, the Rock looked like a team playing for the playoff lives, taking off to a 3-0 start with goals by Adam Jones and Reid Reinholdt early in the first quarter.
At 9:20, it was Jeremy Noble who finally put the Mammoth on the scoreboard, directly after the Mammoth killed a Rock penalty. Eli McLaughlin scored one more for the Mammoth, but the home team ended the quarter down 4-2.
In the second quarter, the Mammoth knotted the game 6-6, playing like a team trying to regain their playoff momentum; like a team unwilling to lose a fourth-straight game.
The Rock scored at 11:29 to recapture a 7-6 lead but the Mammoth answered back. With less than a minute left in the second quarter, Colorado scored two goals in 16 seconds, ending the first half with an 8-7 lead.
The third quarter of the Mammoth’s Fan Appreciation night brought Loud House fans to their feet. Colorado and Toronto traded runs, tying the game 12-12 at 12:12.
Then, with less than 30 seconds left in the third quarter, it was the Mammoth who gained a 13-12 lead, their 15,787 fans jumping from their seats as Jacob Ruest dove to find the back of Nick Rose’s net.
In an electric final quarter, the Loud House roared to a fever pitch as the Mammoth gave their fans a fifteen-minute preview of what a playoff team looks like.
Mammoth Head Coach Pat Coyle said, “In the fourth quarter, I think the work our offense put in the three previous quarters really started to pay off. Our offense was dynamic most of the game, but it paid off in the fourth quarter.”
Colorado outscored Toronto 6-3 in the final quarter with goals by five different players, three of them shorthanded.
The Mammoth ended the game with a decisive 19-15 win.
The Mammoth’s win successfully secured their status as the second seed in the NLL. Their win also forced the Rock’s elimination from the NLL Playoffs.
“I think there were moments when we played like a playoff team,” said Coyle. “I still think we have some work to do but, overall, we are happy with our direction.”
The Mammoth ended a memorable game Saturday night with numbers fans won’t soon forget. Goaltender Dillon Ward saved 42 of 57 shots. Jacob Ruest led the Mammoth with seven points (2G, 5A), surpassing 100 career points. Four more Mammoth players scored five points or higher Saturday night including Joey Cupido (3G, 2A), the First Star of the game, and Zack Greer (3G, 2A), who surpassed 100 career assists.
The Mammoth return to Pepsi Center for their eighth-straight postseason appearance on Saturday, May 5, taking on the Calgary Roughnecks in the West Division Semifinal. To find seats, visit AltitudeTickets.com.