A come from behind effort by the Colorado Mammoth, outscoring the Georgia Swarm 7-3 in the final quarter, powered a 14-11 win in the Mammoth’s home opener for the 2017-2018 season over the defending NLL Champions Cup winner Swarm.
The Mammoth quickly went to work, landing their first goal at home this year in the first quarter when Jacob Ruest found the back of the net. Ruest finished with two goals and three assists.
Featured Saturday night was a very special, NLL first, ‘Teddy Bear Toss’ where fans were given teddy bears to throw onto the turf after the first Mammoth goal in the second quarter.
With 11:04 left in the second quarter, Mammoth newcomer Ryan Benesch rifled in a wrist-shot for his first goal of the night, triggering an avalanche of teddy bears. 3,000 teddy bears were distributed to single game ticket buyers and season ticket holders and all teddy bears that made it to the field will be donated to A Precious Child.
The Mammoth would get a goal from long-time Mammoth fan favorite and DU alumni Jeremy Noble before the half, however the team faced a 5-4 deficit at halftime. Noble would finish with 12 shots, two goals and three assists on the night.
The second half would start with a swaying of streaks, as the Swarm would snag three straight goals to take a 8-5 lead. But then it was the Mammoth’s turn, as head coach Pat Coyle’s team would rip off three straight of their own to tie the game at eight, ignited by Zach Greer’s first goal of the year.
The fourth quarter found the Swarm leading for a majority of the quarter, however Greer’s second goal of the night with 4:27 left in the game put the Mammoth in the lead 11-10 and for good. The Mammoth would get goals from Ruest, Joey Cupido and Noble to ice the game late in the quarter.
Starting for the Mammoth at goalie, in his fifth season with the club was Dillon Ward, saving 37 shots, he finished as the ‘third star’ for the game, Cupido finished as the second star and making his Pepsi Center debut, Benesch finished as the top star of the night, finishing with three goals and three assists.
Benesch said postgame “I’m glad I’m on your side for a change,” noting the many times he’s visited ‘the loud house’ only to come away with a loss. Benesch also credited his team saying “I’m not going to take any credit. It was a team win.”
Zach Greer’s assist in the second quarter gave him his 400th point of his career.
Ryan Benesch, who was acquired by the Mammoth, along with a conditional third round draft pick scored three times in his Pepsi Center debut.
The Mammoth advance to 2-0 on the season, leading the Western Division and will travel to Calgary on December 29th for their next game against the Calgary Roughnecks. They will return to the Pepsi Center on January 13 when they face Saskatchewan Rush.