The Colorado Mammoth clinched their second win of the season Saturday night, beating the Philadelphia Wings at Wells Fargo Center with a final score of 12-10. Saturday marked the Mammoth’s first game against the NLL expansion franchise and was the only meeting between the Mammoth and Wings this season.
The Mammoth’s Ryan Benesch, who is tenth on the league’s top-ten all-time points list with 969 regular-season points, recorded the most points of any player on either team tonight, scoring two goals and adding seven assists for a nine-point night. Benesch has not posted seven assists in a game since May 2015. Notably, Benesch was named All-Pro First Team for the second time in 2015.
Eli McLaughlin (four goals, one assist) and Kyle Killen (two goals, one assist) championed an excellent power play performance for the Mammoth, scoring two man-up goals apiece. Ryan Benesch assisted on all four power play goals. Jeremy Noble assisted on all but one.
“We’ve been trending the right way on [the power play and penalty kill]," said Mammoth head coach Pat Coyle. "We put Jeremy Noble down on the crease, and he’s a really good passer, so, I think a couple of the goals were directly from him finding the guys inside."
The Mammoth scored on four out of seven power play opportunities in their win on Saturday. And, in addition to having a nearly perfect night on the man-up, the Mammoth did have a perfect night on the penalty kill, successfully killing off three out of three penalties.
“I think our short man has played well the last four or five games, and a lot of that starts with Dillon Ward.”
In-net for the Mammoth, goalie Dillon Ward played a solid sixty minutes, making 43 saves on 53 shots.
Colorado got off to a rocky start against Philadelphia on Saturday and found itself down 0-3 by 5:19 in the first quarter. But, in typical Mammoth fashion, the team fought all the way back and took a 5-4 lead by halftime, scoring three-straight goals to close the second quarter.
“I thought, honestly, we started a little slow,” said Benesch. “We came out of the gate a little flat, but we understood what was going on, what needed to change, and we came in at halftime and said the right things and did the right things.”
Benesch went on to say that the team put its foot on the gas in the fourth quarter of the game, which was accurate.
The Mammoth began the final frame on a three-goal run, including a huge transition marker by Joey Cupido; his second of the season. Philadelphia ruined Colorado’s run at 7:07 with a tying tally by Steph Charbonneau, knotting the game 10-10. But that goal was the Wings’ one and only in the final fifteen minutes. The Mammoth bounded back with a score by McLaughlin and a power play marker by Killen to secure a 12-10 win.
But, before Colorado revved its engine in the final frame, the team stumbled, and how the team dealt with that stumble is important.
In the third quarter, the Mammoth's defense loosened its grip and Philadelphia outscored Colorado 5-2. That number could have been 6-3, but each team had one goal called back after video review.
By the end of the frame, the Wings weren't just in the game, they were leading, and the Mammoth were down by a two-goal deficit.
“There was a moment [late in the third quarter], when [the Wings] went up 9-7, that felt like ‘oh no, here we go again,'" said Coyle.
“But I like how we responded when we were down 9-7. I thought that was the real telling time for us. When we beat Calgary this year, our other win, it felt like it had been decided, maybe, going into the fourth quarter. It was nice, after being in so many close games since then, to actually win one. Maybe we can learn from this.
"It was nice to win."
The Mammoth return home to take on the Georgia Swarm at Pepsi Center next Saturday, Feb. 16. The game will also be the Mammoth’s Indoor Beach Party night. Tickets are available now at AltitudeTickets.com.