Welcome to the start of the 2019-20 Mammoth lacrosse season. On Friday, November 29, the Colorado Mammoth will open their 18th season in a rematch of last seasons thrilling West Division Semifinal versus the Saskatchewan Rush. Faceoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Pepsi Center. This game will be the first official game of the 2019-20 season across the NLL.
Colorado’s home opener on Friday will also be the team’s third annual teddy bear toss. Fans will be asked to toss their teddy bears onto to the turf after the first Mammoth goal in the second quarter. Over the last two seasons, the Mammoth have collected over 5,000 teddy bears to donate to A Precious Child; a local organization that assists children and families facing difficult life challenges such as abuse and neglect, crisis situations and poverty.
Teddy Bear Toss
This game will be the Mammoth’s third annual teddy bear toss! After the Mammoth’s first goal of the second quarter, fans are encouraged to throw their bears onto the field! All bears will be donated to A Precious Child. New this season, fans can bring their own teddy bears from outside the arena for the toss. A few safety guidelines have been put in place to make sure this is a fun and safe event for all. More info on the toss can be found here.
Fans have the option to bring their own new bears from home, buy a Teddy Bear Pack, with a ticket and a teddy bear included or purchase a plush toy from Altitude Authentics inside the arena. Teddy Bear Pack’s purchasers can pick up their bear in section 140.
Familiar Foes: Same Game, Different Days
The Rush are familiar opponents for the Mammoth, being division rivals in the new division format (even though the West Division remains the same as last season with Colorado, Saskatchewan, Calgary, San Diego, and Vancouver). The Mammoth played the Rush three times during the regular season during the 2018-19 season, dropping all three matchups.
The Mammoth won the critical matchup in the West Division Semifinal, one week after having lost to the same Saskatchewan team in Saskatoon in the regular season finale. The overtime victory shocked the NLL world as the Mammoth came in as the underdog 4 seed, ending the Rush’s streak of advancing to the NLL Finals for four straight seasons (2015-2018). Joey Cupido was the Mammoth hero, having intercepted a pass and ran on a breakaway for the game winning goal.
A win to start the season will help the Mammoth as only the top two seeds from each division are guaranteed a playoff spot, making the road to the playoffs more difficult for the Mammoth with the West Division having five teams compared to only four teams in both the North and East Divisions.
Keys to the Game
Keep the Rush under 10 – The Rush went 11-7 during the 2018-19 season, once again winning the West Division. Through the regular season, their juggernaut offense led by Mark Matthews, was held to under 10 goals twice all season, both times by the Colorado Mammoth. The Mammoth lost both these contests 9-7. In order to help keep the Rush under that magic number, the Mammoth will need to stay out of the penalty box as the Rush were the best team in the NLL to capitalize on the man advantage based on conversion percentage.
Balanced Offense – The Mammoth bring back the core of their young offense from the 2018-19 season. The year of experience together should help the forwards, all 28 or younger, as well as the coaches as Offensive Coordinator Shawn Williams was also in his first year with the team.
During the West Division Semifinal, eight Mammoth players recorded points, led by right handed forward Ryan Lee with six points (3g, 3a). The Mammoth didn’t have the “dominant” scorer that many of the teams in the past have had. It was offense by committee or whoever had the hottest hand. Eli McLaughlin is the closest the Mammoth have as a “go-to guy”, he led the team last season with a career high 76 points (35g, 41a) which ranked 22nd in the NLL. The Mammoth are also expected to be short on the bench on the left-handed side with forwards Jeff Wittig and Chris Wardle expected to miss the game with injuries. Expect newcomers Will Malcom and Carter Dickson to help fill out the left side of the offense.
Notable New to Wear Burgundy
With the offseason coming to an end, the Mammoth were finally able to announce their roster for opening night. Some new faces are expected to make their debuts in Mammoth uniforms on Friday night.
Tickets are on sale now for the 2019-20 Mammoth season and can be purchased at AltitudeTickets.com. For information on Season Ticket and Partial Season Ticket Membership, please visit ColoradoMammoth.com or call 303.405.1101. The game can be watched live locally on Altitude or streamed on Bleacher Report Live at live.bleacherreport.com.