The Colorado Mammoth surrendered their 2018-19 season opener on Saturday night, dropping the 17-12 decision to NLL newcomers, the San Diego Seals.
For the Mammoth, the highlight of the night was the first goal of the second quarter, scored by Jeremy Noble, that triggered 13,207 Mammoth fans to throw nearly 4,000 teddy bears onto the turf. The bears collected on the turf were all donated to local charity, A Precious Child, just in time for Christmas.
Noble’s goal, his first of two on the night (two goals, three assists), also gained the Mammoth a 3-2 lead. Unfortunately, it would also be the team’s last lead of the game. San Diego pulled ahead by a point with a goal by Turner Evans at 6:25 in the second.
From there, San Diego’s offense simply dominated the scoreboard, though the Mammoth would out-shoot them 56-51 in the end. There was a nearly four-minute period in the third quarter in which the Mammoth rebounded with a four-goal run but, even then, San Diego clapped back with their own four-marker run in which rookie Austin Staats found twine twice.
First star of the game, Austin Staats, a product of Six Nations selected first overall in the 2018 NLL Entry Draft, led the Seals with nine points (five goals, four assists) in Saturday's matchup. Eight of Staats' teammates also contributed goals to their team’s first franchise win, including Seals assistant captain Kyle Buchanan who netted two goals and assisted on six.
Seals Goalie, Frank Scigliano, came away with the second star of the game, saving 44 out of 56 shots on goal.
“We had no excuses tonight. We were healthy. That wasn’t an issue,” said head coach Pat Coyle. “I think we came in here thinking, ‘we’re really good', and it showed.
“We can’t continue to play 20, or 30 or 40 minutes the way we played tonight. Defensively, there will be some adjustments.”
The Mammoth now moves into a holiday bye week before returning to their home turf against the Calgary Roughnecks on Sunday, Jan. 6.
“We need to watch film and focus on what we did right,” said Coyle. “There were minutes of five-on-five stretches where we scored, held San Diego off and looked good. Offensively, we got a lot of good looks.”
Benesch for 400
Ryan Benesch, who returned for his second year with the Mammoth and his 15th year in the NLL, scored his 400th regular-season career goal in Saturday’s season opener. Benesch ended the night with a hat-trick and two helpers.
Hitting the Hundreds
With milestones of their own, Eli McLaughlin (three goals, one assist) surpassed 200 points and Chris Wardle (two assists) hit an even 100 points.
Goalie Steve Fryer, who entered the game at 5:42 in the third quarter, relieving Dillon Ward, made his 100th career save, making 13 saves on 16 shots in his 20:41 minutes played.