Mammoth beginning to hit stride, seek third-straight win on Sunday

Calgary Roughnecks vs. Colorado Mammoth at Pepsi Center, Saturday, March 10, 2018, in Denver. (Photo by Jack Dempsey for the Colorado Mammoth)

After securing consecutive home victories against the San Diego Seals and Philadelphia Wings, the Mammoth will host the Rochester Knighthawks, Sunday at the Pepsi Center.

Colorado’s 11-10 victory over the Wings represented one-of-four one-goal games in Week 14 as teams continue to put their best effort forward as the 2020 NLL Playoffs quickly approach.

Heading into a Week 15 slate of games which features all 13 of the NLL’s teams, Colorado will face off with Rochester during the team’s third contest of a four-game homestand. The matchup against the Knighthawks represents the lone regular-season game between the cross-divisional opponents.

Home Sweet Home

Following Colorado’s most recent matchup at Pepsi Center, the Mammoth have played seven of its first 12 games away from Pepsi Center, allowing Colorado to close out the season hosting four of its final six remaining games and providing several opportunities for Mammoth fans to get ‘The Loud House’ rocking as the team makes a push for playoffs.

The Mammoth head into Sunday’s contest as one of only five teams to have completed 12 games through the league’s first 14 weeks of action, joining the Philadelphia Wings, Vancouver Warriors, San Diego Seals and New York Riptide as the league’s teams to get after it early and often.

Colorado will look to improve on its 3-2 record at Pepsi Center this season behind the energetic support of its fans during the Sunday matchup. Fans will be able to enjoy the energetic afternoon vibes and $4.50 beers at the Mammoth pre-game tailgate before taking advantage of the recently reduced concession prices throughout Pepsi Center as the Mammoth look to make it three in a row against Rochester Sunday.

League Leaders in Colorado

Colorado continues to distribute the offensive load among its talented roster of forwards and transition players this season while relying on its sound defensive effort and efficient power-play unit.

Following his sixth-consecutive three-plus-point performance (4g, 3a) during Colorado’s last matchup against Philadelphia, Ryan Lee (22g, 34a) continues to dominate offensively and paces the Mammoth in points, goals and assists through Colorado’s first 12 contests. In his third professional season with the Mammoth, Lee is four points from surpassing his previous career-high season point total of 59 as the forward has accumulated 56 points in 12 games so far. After logging four goals Saturday, the forward became one of five NLL players currently riding a 10-plus game goal streak and will look to extend the impressive feat Sunday against the Knighthawks.

After logging his tenth-consecutive three-plus-point outing (0g, 3a) against the Wings Feb. 29, Eli McLaughlin (14g, 33a) trails forward Ryan Lee by nine points for the team lead despite only logging 10 games to Lee’s 12 and continues to lead Mammoth players with 4.70 points-per-game.

Chris Wardle’s five-point-performance (1g, 4a) brings the forward to a career-best 45 points (16g, 29a) on the season as the sixth-year veteran continues to provide consistent scoring for the Mammoth.

Jacob Ruest (17g, 12a) and Kyle Killen (6g, 14a) have solidified depth scoring for the Mammoth, as Joey Cupido’s 16 points (7g, 9a) rank tied for fifth in the league among transition players, while his three short-handed goals remain tied for first in the NLL through Week 14.

After recording six loose balls against Philadelphia, Veteran Defenseman Robert Hope is one of four NLL players to have recorded triple-digit loose ball counts this season and continues to lead Colorado in the category while joining the noted Mammoth players among the league’s leaders in several categories:

Goals: Ryan Lee, 22 (T10th)

Assists: Ryan Lee, 34 (T9th)

Points: Ryan Lee, 56 (7th)

Power-Play Goals: Ryan Lee, 6 (T8th)

Power-Play Assists: Ryan Lee/Eli McLaughlin, 10 (T9th)

Short-Handed Goals: Joey Cupido, 3 (T1st)

Loose Balls: Robert Hope, 107 (3rd)

Saves: Dillon Ward, 513 (1st)

Save Percentage: Dillon Ward, .821% (2nd—1st among G w/ 12 GP)

Goals Against Average: Dillon Ward, 9.33 (3rd—1st among G w/ 12 GP)

Goaltender Minutes: Dillon Ward, 720:30 (1st)

Rookie Watch

Dylan Kinnear, Colorado’s third-round pick (39th overall) in the 2019 NLL Entry Draft, recorded four points (2g, 2a) in Colorado’s victory over Philadelphia, including a game-tying goal heading into halftime and his second nine minutes into the third period to give the Mammoth its first two-goal lead of the contest. The two-goal performance marks the rookie’s fourth time accomplishing the feat in his last five games. The first-year forward added an assist on an early opening-session marker from Ryan Lee and connected with Lee again early in the fourth quarter to give the rookie 17 points (9g, 8a) in nine games.

Defenseman Brett Craig logged 16:59 of floor time and two loose balls during the rookie’s fourth-consecutive start and joins his fellow first-year players in ranking among league-leading rookies:

Goals: Dylan Kinnear, 9 (T4th)

Assists: Dylan Kinnear, 8 (T7th)

Points: Dylan Kinnear, 17 (6th)

Power-Play Goals: Will Malcom/Jake McNabb, 1 (T6th)

Loose Balls: Brett Craig, 44 (T13th)

Caused Turnovers: Warren Jeffrey, 5 (T12th)

Shots: Will Malcom, 43 (6th)

Shots on Goal: Will Malcom/Dylan Kinnear, 27 (T7th)

Shot Percentage: Brett Craig, .286% (9th)

Consistency is Key

The Mammoth continue to produce on both ends of the floor, executing a pass-first mentality and demonstrating unselfish play through the team’s first 12 contests. Consistent performances from forwards and defenders alike continue to fuel Colorado’s competitive contests while disciplined play continues to support the Mammoth’s special teams’ success.

While the Mammoth have enjoyed spreading the offensive workload, at least one Colorado player has produced a hat trick in nine-of-12 contests this season, including three-plus goal performances by Jacob Ruest (3g, 2a) Nov. 29, Jacob Ruest (5g, 2a) Dec. 28, Joey Cupido (3g, 2a) Jan. 4, Ryan Lee (3g, 2a) Jan. 11, Chris Wardle (5g) and Eli McLaughlin (3g, 4a) Jan. 18, Ryan Lee (5g, 0a) Jan. 25, Eli McLaughlin (3g, 2a) Feb. 1, Eli McLaughlin (3g, 2a) Feb. 8 and most recently Ryan Lee (4g, 3a) during last weekend’s 11-10 victory over the Philadelphia Wings.

Several Mammoth players continue to contribute points each game, as seven forwards continue to hold active point streaks this season:

Ryan Lee: (3-3-8-3-5-2-7-5-4-3-6-7)

Jacob Ruest: (5-2-7-1-2-1-1-4-1-2-1-2)

Chris Wardle: (2-3-6-2-4-2-5-8-3-2-3-5)

Eli McLaughlin: (5-4-4-3-7-7-5-5-4-3)

Kyle Killen: (2-3-3-1-3-3-3-2-1)

Dylan Kinnear: (2-2-2-2-3-4)

Jeff Wittig: (1-1-3-2-1)

On the flip side, defenders and transition players continue to rack up stellar loose ball counts, with the following consistently leading the scoop charge thus far:

Robert Hope: (11-12-5-6-6-6-10-5-8-16-14-6)

Jordan Gilles: (4-4-7-8-2-8-9-10-3-2-3-5)

Joey Cupido: (4-6-4-1-6-3-9-3-3-7-4-8)

John Lintz: (4-4-3-7-2-1-4-3-3-6-5-4)

Tim Edwards: (8-6-5-4-5-5-1-2-2-3-2)

Digby’s Debut

The 6-3, 277-lb. forward’s presence was felt right away, as Tyler Digby posted six points (2g, 4a) in the forward’s Feb. 29 debut with Colorado and helped the Mammoth secure a huge victory over Philadelphia Saturday. The New Westminster, BC veteran logged his first point as a member of the Mammoth with a second-quarter assist on a Ryan Lee power-play tally before recording his first goal with Colorado just over a minute into the third quarter.

Digby followed the marker up with an assist on each of the team’s next three goals before burying another tally as part of a five-goal third-quarter run for Colorado. Trailing only Ryan Lee’s seven points (4g, 3a) the forward hit the ground running and immediately provided dividends during his first game with the team.

His physical approach to offensive sets was a much-needed addition to the otherwise average-sized forward roster and helped create space for Lee, Chris Wardle and others as the team secured a key win last weekend. Expect Digby to stay heavily involved on the offensive side of the floor, continuing to set picks and create space while not shying away from an isolation post or commanding the offense from the top of the key.

Get in the Game

Tickets to Colorado’s Sunday matchup against the Philadelphia Wings, and all Mammoth home games, can be purchased at AltitudeTickets.com. Mammoth home games will be aired on Altitude and Altitude 2 network stations, while all road games can be streamed live via Bleacher Report Live.

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