Sometimes, the NLL schedule can be brutal.
Friday night’s game in Vancouver ended with a Mammoth victory at 11:02pm local time. The team likely got to the hotel slightly before 1am Saturday morning. Mammoth players and staff then woke up just two hours later and packed the busses before heading to the airport to catch their flight. The team landed in Colorado at 10am(MT) and took the floor at the Pepsi Center just nine hours later to do it all over again against the same Vancouver Warriors team.
Colorado extended its win streak to three games with a 14-4 victory over the Vancouver Warriors. This was the team’s first double-digit margin of victory this season. With the win, Colorado improved to 6-8 on the season.
Normally, a team is seriously fatigued when playing their second game in two days, but this just wasn’t the case tonight for the Mammoth. In fact, it seems as though the tight schedule actually worked to their advantage. The team came out looking fresh and ready to play. Kyle Killen got the Mammoth on the board first just three minutes into the ballgame and the team never looked back.
The second quarter proved to be Colorado’s best offensive quarter of the season thus far. The team netted seven goals in ten minutes, almost tying the record for the most goals scored in a single quarter at the Pepsi Center (8 goals, Jan. 14, 2012). It’s also worth noting that this was not some sort of one-man show either. Eli McLaughlin, Kyle Killen, Chris Wardle, and Cory Vitarelli all found the back of the net in the second period
Kyle Killen took over the game tonight. Vancouver had no answer for Colorado’s 2018 2nd -Round entry draft selection as Killen was able to find the back of the net five times and got credit for one assist before the night was over. Perhaps the prettiest Killen goal of the night came in the second quarter when he found the back of the net off of behind-the-back shot that just snuck past the Vancouver goalkeeper and caused Mammoth fans to flashback to the days of John Grant Jr.
The Mammoth deserved this one. After two weeks of gritty wins and a tough travel schedule this weekend, it seems as though the Mammoth rewarded themselves for their hard work with a huge victory over a struggling Warriors team. They now have a three-game win streak and sit at fourth-place in the Western Division. While this win didn’t move the team any higher in the standings, it does seem to prove that Colorado success as of late is no fluke. This team can be absolutely lethal on offense when they end up clicking from start to finish. Additionally, it feels as though Colorado has found the perfect combination of young speed and old leadership with the pairing of Kyle Killen and Eli McLaughlin. Those two found each other on three scoring plays tonight and worked together off-ball in ways that freed up others to find some space to shoot. Late in the season, the Mammoth are not a squad that many NLL teams want to battle with by any means.
“It’s nice, the boys were a bit tired from the tough travel day, but we got back and had a nap and came in hot…now, with the bye week, we just need to rest up. Back-to- back games are tough and now we just need to put these two wins behind us and get ready for the next one.” – Kyle Killen on the team’s performance tonight following the tough travel day.
“We knew coming into this weekend that it was pretty much do or die for us. Friday we grinded that win out and then we took that momentum, put our foot on the gas and didn’t let go.” – Eli McLaughlin on how important tonight’s win was to the team.
Colorado will take next weekend off before hosting Saskatchewan for the first and only time this season on April 6th. The game will feature Colorado’s 10th annual, “Lacrosse Out Cancer,” night where the team will look back on the lives touched during the last 10 years before once again rallying with those battling the disease.