Feature Image Credit: Colorado Mammoth

The Colorado Mammoth returned to HealthONE Field at Pepsi Center looking to put an end to a three-game losing streak, its longest of the season. It came away with a 10-5 victory over the Toronto Rock, winning its seventh game at home this year to tie a single-season franchise record while improving to 11-6 overall.

Dillon Ward was a brick wall between the pipes, denying 49 of the 53 shots on goal he faced. (Toronto scored an empty-net goal at the end of the third quarter.) He improved his save percentage to .799, best in the NLL.

“It’s a good time to be peaking, going into the playoffs,” said coach Dan Stroup of his netminder. “Right now he’s just seeing the ball. He’s there before the ball gets there. They shoot far-side, he’s already waiting for it. He’s making it look easy.”

The third-year goalie lowered his goals-against-average to 10.36, moving past Toronto’s Nick Rose and Saskatchewan’s Aaron Bold into the league-lead.

“A lot of the credit has to go to the defense,” said a humble Ward. “Toronto may have taken a lot of shots, but a lot of shots were from where we wanted them to come from.”

Colorado got on the board 34 seconds into the game on a Callum Crawford goal, his first of five points on the evening. In a game the Mammoth never trailed, a low-scoring first half [3-2 Colorado at the intermission] gave way to a four-goal Colorado outburst in the third to extend the lead to five.

In the fourth, with the Rock hanging around down by three, John Grant, Jr. scored two goals to tie Brian Langtry for the most in a Mammoth uniform (230) in team history.

“He was an excellent player, and a fan-favorite here,” said Grant of his former teammate. “I’m just trying to help our team get rolling here going into the playoffs.”

With Vancouver’s win tonight over Saskatchewan, Colorado’s first-round opponent is still unknown. The single-elimination West Division Semifinal at Pepsi Center on Saturday, May 7 will be against either the Stealth (who visits Pepsi Center Friday in the Mammoth’s regular-season finale) or the arch-rival Calgary Roughnecks.

Crawford, Grant, Eli McLaughlin and defenseman Ilija Gajic each scored two goals. Forward Mike Mallory had a quick-stick goal, and defenseman Josh Sullivan scored in transition.

The five goals allowed matches a season-low for Colorado.