Saturday, the Colorado Mammoth (4-3) fell 13-9 to the Calgary Roughnecks (3-5) in the Scotiabank Saddledome.
This game marked the Roughnecks’ first back-to-back win of the season as well as the Mammoth’s first back-to-back loss. This game also indicated that while the Saskatchewan Rush has sole possession for place in the West division, the fight for second place is just beginning between the Mammoth and the Roughnecks.
Saturday, the Mammoth were 4 for 4 on power plays and managed to outshoot their opponent 85-73. The Roughnecks were not perfect, but where they were at their best was between the pipes. Goaltender Christian Del Bianco ended the game with an 0.85 SV % (51 saves) compared to Dillon Ward’s 0.755 SV% (37 saves). In winning the goaltending battle, the Roughnecks won the war.
Mammoth Head Coach Pat Coyle said, “Calgary’s goalie played a solid game and made some big saves. We needed to shoot with more purpose. We are missing the net too many times when we should be forcing their goalie to save the ball or to create a reset.”
Colorado and Calgary’s rivalry game began promptly as a goaltending battle. Mammoth and Roughnecks traded shots as Ward and Del Bianco dictated the first quarter from the nets. Wes Berg scored once for Calgary and, on a power play, Jeremy Noble scored for Colorado with a lethal shot to the top corner, knotting the quarter up 1-1.
In the first 3:14 of the second quarter, the Mammoth and Roughnecks swapped goals yet again: Calgary scored while short-handed, Colorado then scored on a power-play, and finally Calgary scored a break-away goal, bringing the score to 3-2. In the final nine minutes, Dane Dobbie’s two goals brought the Roughnecks’ lead to 5-2 and showed cracks in the Mammoth’s defense as they double and triple-teamed Calgary’s leading scorer, Curtis Dickson. Colorado’s Jacob Ruest scored the final goal of the quarter at 14:25, shrinking the Roughnecks’ lead to 5-3 at halftime.
The third quarter belonged to Calgary. The Roughnecks streaked through a three-goal run, beginning with Dickson’s first goal. Calgary lead 8-3 before Noble’s familiar corner shot found the back of Del Bianco’s net. With one more goal, Calgary closed out the third, 9-4 Roughnecks.
In the final fifteen, the Mammoth offense showed that, while Calgary’s defense quieted them in the third quarter, it hadn’t silenced them. The Mammoth and Roughnecks matched goal for goal in the first nine minutes, making the 10-6 Roughnecks. In the next 2:34 the Mammoth scored two straight goals, pulling within three. The scoreboard read 11-8. But Dickson ended the Mammoth’s streak, scoring Calgary’s 12th goal at 12:00. Dobbie then scored on an empty net for a 13-8 Calgary lead at 14:38. Eli McLaughlin’s Mammoth goal with seven seconds left put the final score at 13-9. The Roughnecks roped in the rematch win.
At the close of the game, Coach Coyle said, “I thought our defense was average. It didn’t seem like we could really close the door when our team was trying to make a run. We need to be better and our best players need to be our best players.”
The Mammoth stay on the road to play the New England Black Wolves at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Sunday, 2/18 at 12:00 PM MT.
On March 3, the Mammoth returns home for its “Colorado Pride” game, facing off against the Buffalo Bandits. To find seats visit AltitudeTickets.com.