PLAYOFF BOUND! JONES, MAMMOTH BEAT SWARM
Heading into Saturday’s game at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., the Colorado Mammoth knew the task at hand. Win and clinch a playoff berth. Lose and need Rochester to beat Buffalo.
The Knighthawks victory gave the Mammoth a spot in the playoffs. Minutes later, Colorado’s 16-14 win over Minnesota secured the Mammoth the four-seed in the West Division.
“I’m proud of my guys,” said Colorado head coach Bob Hamley. “I’m happy for them because a lot of people counted them out.”
Hamley’s squad stumbled through a five-game losing streak midway through the season. Then Colorado stepped on the gas, winning five of its last seven to earn the franchise’s tenth postseason appearance in 11 years.
Forward Adam Jones took matters into his own hands on Saturday. He recorded season-highs in goals (5) and points (8), leading all scorers.
“Outstanding! Outstanding!” said Hamley of Jones. “Rookie of the Year last year for a reason. Always been a big player in big games – you look at his whole career through minor, through junior. He’s a big-time player and he really was a big-time guy for us tonight.”
One of his goals was short-handed; one came on the man-up. Jones had 29 goals as a rookie in 2012. He finished this season with 33.
John Grant Jr. had three goals and two assists in the playoff-clinching win. He followed up his 50-goal, MVP season with a 43-goal campaign at 38 years old. Grant’s seven loose balls against the Swarm tied a team-high.
Colorado and Minnesota entered the fourth quarter tied at nine. The Mammoth scored five of the next six tallies in the first 7:43 of the frame to seize control.
“We got some timely goals,” proclaimed Hamley.
The team’s philosophy all season was to be playing well down the stretch. Now, the Mammoth has confidence heading into the playoffs.
“We knew that we needed to end the season on a positive note and get some momentum going into next week,” said Jones.
Colorado will face the West Division’s top seed, the Calgary Roughnecks, in the West Division Semifinal next week. The Roughnecks earned the number-one seed on Saturday night after defeating the Rush, 12-11, in overtime.