San Diego’s debut spoils Mammoth season-opener

San Diego Seals at Colorado Mammoth 12.22.18 Jack Dempsey 12/22/2018 National Lacrosse League

The Colorado Mammoth season-opener was spoiled by the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NLL Draft Austin Staats and the expansion franchise San Diego Seals as San Diego beat the Mammoth 17-12 for their franchise’s first win on Saturday night at Pepsi Center.

It was a game of runs featuring four instances where a team scored at least three-straight goals. Colorado and San Diego traded goals in the first quarter before the teddy bears began to fly at Pepsi Center.

The Mammoth kicked off their 17th year with their second annual Teddy Bear toss to benefit A Precious Child. Former DU Pioneer and fan-favorite Jeremy Noble scored the first Mammoth goal in the second quarter, triggering an avalanche of teddy bears to be thrown from fans onto the field.

The 3,000+ bears thrown onto the field will be donated to A Precious Child; a local organization that assists children and families facing difficult life challenges such as abuse and neglect, crisis situations and poverty. 

Noble’s goal that triggered the toss was his first of the year. Noble finished the game tied for the team lead in points, poured in two goals and three assists and was named the third star of the game. However after the bears were collected, the expansion franchise Seals collected a couple goals on the Mammoth.

First overall pick in the 2018 draft out of Onondaga Community college Staats was regarded by several lacrosse outlets as a ‘generational talent’ powered the Seals with two goals in the first half as the Seals scored six of the next eight goals to take a 8-5 lead at halftime.

The Mammoth turned the tides in the third quarter. Colorado scored four unanswered to get within one. But in this game of runs, San Diego followed with three of their own including one from Staats, giving him a hat trick in his debut. Staats finished the game with five goals and four assists for nine points on the night and the first star honors.

The run pushed the Seals lead to 13-9 and was the end for starting goalie Dillon Ward. Ward made 20 saves on the night before he was lifted in favor of Steve Fryer. San Diego continued to pour it on, adding one final goal from former Mammoth defensemen Cam Holding. San Diego starting goalie Frank Scigliano saved 44 shots on the 50+ shots that the Mammoth hurled at the Seals goalie, but Colorado couldn’t get past the strong performance of Scigliano that set up the franchise’s first win.

Leading scorer for the Mammoth in 2018 Ryan Benesch notched the Mammoth’s first goal of the year. Benesch led the Mammoth in goals for 2018 with 36 goals and kicked off the new season recording a hat-trick. Eli McLaughlin also recorded a hat-trick and finished with four points on the night, while leading the team with 11 shots. Colorado’s Joey Cupido — who was named NLL Transition player of the year last season for Colorado —  notched two goals and two assists in the loss.

  • What’s next

Saturday’s game against the Seals will be the only game the Mammoth play in 2018. The Mammoth resume play in 2019 on January 6th when Colorado hosts the Calgary Roughnecks.