In week 6 of the 2017-18 NLL Season, both the Mammoth and the Rush are undefeated, leading the West Division, but only one team will remain at the top of the division after Saturday. The Mammoth faces off against Saskatchewan on January 13 at Pepsi Center.
Assistant Coach Chris Gill said, “This game will be a tough test for both our offense and defense. We need to play our game and dictate the pace of play from the first shift to the last shift.”
The Rush have undeniable rhythm as they move the ball down the turf. Last season, this synchronicity lead to the Mammoth winning only 1 out of 4 games in regular season matchups and 0-2 in the West Division Finals against the Rush. This season, the Rush has found a good rhythm and has built itself into a formidable opponent, but so has the Mammoth.
The Mammoth has reached 3-0 by embracing “The Grind”. In preparing each week, the Mammoth keep their focus simple, sticking to fundamentals and maintaining their work ethic.
Jeremy Noble said, “Everyone on this team has a certain role. Our focus is simply on doing our jobs to the best of our abilities on Saturday night.”
Offensively, players to watch on Saturday include Jeremy Noble and Ryan Benesch. Noble put up six assists against the Calgary Roughnecks and is now tied for 10th in points in the NLL. Ryan Benesch is tied for second in goals and is tied for fourth in points in the NLL. Benesch is a consistent player and shows the ability to play a dominant four quarters against the Rush’s stingy defense. For the Rush, forwards Ben McIntosh, Mark Matthews, Robert Church and Jeff Shattler have already racked up 6+ goals and, with forward Ryan Keenan, they have each amassed over 15 points.
Defensively, all eyes will be on Dillon Ward. Currently, with 125 saves, Ward’s save percentage (0.828) is the highest in the league among goaltenders who have played 3 or more games. Rush Goaltender Evan Kirk is not far behind with 111 saves and a save percentage of 0.793. With Ward, the 2017 NLL Goaltender of the Year, and Kirk, the 2016 NLL Goaltender of the Year, on the turf, the battle between two undefeated teams could come down to a battle of the netminders.
January 13th's game theme is “Kids Take Charge". The Mammoth encourages parents to let their kids take them out to a game for a change! In-game entertainment will be geared toward kids. Adult single game tickets will be 25% off for January 13. To find seats please visit AltitudeTickets.com.