Vancouver Stealth edge out win over Mammoth on John Grant Jr.’s jersey retirement night

Vancouver Stealth v. Colorado Mammoth at Pepsi Center, Saturday, March 24, 2018, in Denver. (Photo by Jack Dempsey for the Colorado Mammoth)

A damper was put on the celebration of John Grant Jr.’s jersey retirement as the Colorado Mammoth lost to the Vancouver Stealth 13-12.

In a pregame ceremony, the Mammoth celebrated the career of Grant Jr. as general manager Dan Carey, Kroenke Sports and Entertainment Executive Vice President and COO Matt Hutchings and NLL commissioner Nick Sakiewicz all gave speeches before Grant Jr. himself spoke, praising his team’s and family’s support. The number 24 was raised to the rafters, signaling game time.

The Stealth came out fast, scoring the first four goals and putting the Mammoth in a deep hole early. Forward Stephen Keogh scored the first goal for Colorado with just over five minutes remaining in the opening quarter, opening the floodgates for what would be six straight goals by the Mammoth.

Colorado took a two goal lead and held Vancouver off the board until late in the second quarter until Vancouver responded with three in a row of their own, retaking the lead. Keogh would put one past the Stealth net-minder with just over a minute in the quarter to tie the game at seven going into halftime.

The teams traded the lead through the third quarter and Vancouver struck first in fourth before Colorado caught heat. Forwards Eli McLaughlin, Zack Greer and Jacob Ruest all found the back of the net, putting the Mammoth up 12-10 with half of the quarter gone.

Unfortunately, it would be the last set of goals the Mammoth would score the rest of the night. Vancouver clawed their way back to a tie game, scoring twice in a 30-second span. Then disaster struck as an awkward, slow-rolling ball shot by Stealth forward Pat Saunders snuck past Mammoth goaltender Dillon Ward, putting Vancouver up 13-12.

Colorado had multiple chances late, controlling the ball for almost the entirety of the final minute and a half of the game, even having a two-man advantage thanks to a power play and an extra man on the floor in place of Ward, but the Stealth stood stout to collect the win.

The Mammoth still have a three-game lead for second place in the Western Division with the loss, but also lose ground to the Saskatchewan Rush, who now hold a two-game lead over the Mammoth in the fight for first place in the Western Division. The Mammoth return to action on March 30 and 31 when they travel to Toronto to take on the Rock and Rochester to play the Knighthawks.

The next Mammoth home game will be on April 14 against the New England Black Wolves.

Game Notes

  • Jacob Ruest earned the first star of the game with a five point performance, three goals and two assists. He is now 12 points away from 100 career points.
  • Jeremy Noble earned his 200th career point with three assists
  • Eli McLaughlin earned a goal and an assist, putting him one away from 100 career assists and 14 away from 100 career goals.
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