The Colorado Mammoth, hungry for their first win of the season, continue their four-game homestand this Saturday in a cross-division collision with the Toronto Rock; a team that the Mammoth will see only once this season.
Last Time Out
Though Colorado improved from their season-opener, playing a markedly better four quarters in their second outing, the Mammoth fell 11-8 to the Calgary Roughnecks on Sunday, Jan. 6.
With a multi-point outing for the second week, Ryan Benesch (two goals, one assist) and Jacob Ruest (three assists) led the Mammoth with three points apiece.
Joey Cupido forced four turnovers in the matchup, bringing his total number to five caused turnovers this season; a much-improved number from his one caused turnover through his first two games last season.
Robert Hope led Mammoth in loose ball recovery with ten versus Calgary. Having recovered 15 loose balls this season, Hope needs just seven recoveries versus Toronto this Saturday to beat his number after three games last season (21 loose balls).
In Toronto's last outing, "Captain America" Tom Schreiber (five goals, three assists) and Adam Jones (five goals, one assist), paced the Rock to an overtime win over the Wings. Schreiber is currently tied for the second-most goals in the NLL. Nick Rose saved 42 of 52 shots in Toronto’s win and currently owns the second-best save percentage in the league.
Last Time They Met
In their regular-season finale at Pepsi Center last April, Colorado trumped Toronto in one of their highest-scoring games of the season. At 12:12 in the third quarter it looked like the game could go either way as Jordan Gilles tied the game 12-12 with a shorthanded tally. In the final frame, penalties kept Colorado a man-down for about four minutes but, during that time, the Mammoth outscored Toronto’s power play, netting three more shorthanded goals to put Colorado up 17-13 with five minutes left on the clock. Toronto was unable to make up the deficit in the final minutes and Colorado took the 19-15 win.
The Mammoth saw goals from nine different scorers. Colorado goalie Dillon Ward saved 42 of 57 shots in the win.
What To Watch
Colorado killed one of two penalties in their last outing while Toronto killed a perfect three-for-three. Toronto only converted on one of six power-play opportunities, though, proving that a potent penalty-kill outfit can outplay them in five-on-four situations.
Player To Watch
Toronto: Rob Hellyer
Even on nights when Hellyer’s goal-scoring isn’t hot, he is often a part of his team's major goals. In Toronto’s last outing, Hellyer didn’t score but assisted Schreiber, his fellow righty forward, in two of his tallies and Jones on one of his scores, as well.
Similarly, in Hellyer’s last appearance on Mammoth turf, he went goalless but had a hand in nearly half of Toronto’s goals with six different helpers assisting five different Rock scorers. A multi-point night for Hellyer on Saturday would extend his streak to four games this season.
Colorado: Eli McLaughlin
In Colorado’s final faceoff against Toronto last regular-season, McLaughlin was one of four scorers with a hat-trick (three goals, two assists) in the Mammoth’s win.
This season, McLaughlin has fired 30 shots in two games and currently leads the Mammoth in shots. In comparison, Schreiber, Toronto's lead scorer, is currently at 41 shots after three games. McLaughlin, then, would need 11 shots on Saturday to match Schreiber's pace, which is reasonable as McLaughlin had 9 shots in his last game.
With four goals on the season, the second-most for the Mammoth, McLaughlin can notch his 100th tally against Toronto if he nets two goals on Saturday. If the left-handed forward keeps getting good looks and taking good shots, goals will eventually follow.
The Mammoth’s matchup against the Rock is scheduled for Saturday at 7:00 p.m. at Pepsi Center.
Fittingly, this game is also ‘80s Rock night presented by KOOL 105. To fit the theme, the Mammoth will debut new blackout jerseys and encourage fans to wear their favorite, all-black ‘80s rocker ensembles.
Local band Raising Cane will play ‘80s rock jams live pregame, at halftime, and in between quarters.