For the final time in the regular season, and possibly the final time this year, the Colorado Mammoth took the floor at the Pepsi Center in front of a strong Loud House crowd. Following the team’s loss to Saskatchewan last week, the team had another chance to clinch an NLL Playoff berth win a win tonight. Unfortunately, the Mammoth dropped a tough overtime decision to Rochester and will have to wait a little longer to secure a spot in the postseason.
Colorado fell to Rochester in overtime by a final score of 10-9. With the loss, the Mammoth drop to 6-10 on the season and remain in 4th place in the Western Division.
- The Mammoth didn’t let a slow first half hold them back tonight. Midway through the third quarter Rochester still held an 8-4 lead before Colorado’s offense finally found its groove. Colorado managed to keep things reasonably close throughout the game before they used a dominant fourth quarter to tie things up. The Loud House absolutely erupted when Ryan Lee scored the equalizer, his second goal of the night, with just 30 seconds left on the clock.
- Early in the second period, Colorado Forward Eli McLaughlin got body-checked hard and hit the turf. He hobbled off the field on his own power before heading to the locker room for examination. X-Rays on his shoulder came back negative, but he was ruled out for the rest of the game.
- For the second week in a row, Colorado missed its opportunity to clinch a playoff berth on its home turf. However, the Mammoth can still clinch a playoff berth this weekend if Vancouver loses to Philadelphia on Sunday. Should Vancouver win their game instead, the Mammoth will have to clinch a berth either in San Diego or Saskatchewan as they close out the regular season.
Tonight’s loss was bittersweet.
The obvious downside to the loss is the fact that Colorado failed to clinch a playoff berth on their home turf. With two games left in the regular season against the two best teams in the Western Division, a win tonight and subsequent playoff berth would have been nice to say the least. Additionally, comeback performances that turn into overtime losses tend to sting a lot more than most other defeats. Colorado proved in the fourth quarter that they had everything necessary to put Rochester away. Once Colorado started creating their own offensive opportunities through some intense off-ball work, the goals started flowing easily. The truth of the matter is that Colorado needs to find a way to play a full sixty-minutes of quality lacrosse in order to have any postseason success. Tiny offensive spurts just won’t cut it.
Yet, while the Mammoth may have proved that they have some work to do before thinking about any postseason action, they also proved that they could take over a game in the blink of an eye. There is no doubt that Rochester controlled a majority of the contest. But still, somehow, the Mammoth were able to close the game on a 5-1 scoring run and send the game to overtime. Colorado was inches away from winning a game in which they played catch-up in for almost three full quarters, and that in and of itself shows tremendous promise.
“We were just playing catch-up the whole game. I think we were only tied 4-4 and 9-9. We shouldn’t have even got in that situation. I’m glad the way we battled back, but we have to learn how to play with some urgency for a full sixty minutes.” – Dan Coates on tonight’s loss.
“It’s going to be a tough two games for us, but we just have to be a little sharper. We just have to be a little better at times. We don’t want to go in the backdoor to the playoffs with another team losing. We just need to focus on next week.” – Cory Vitarelli on Colorado’s big playoff push in the next two weeks.
Colorado will travel to face the top two teams in the Western Conference to close out the season. First up will be a trip to San Diego to take on the 1st place Seals on April 19th before the team finishes the regular season in Saskatchewan against the 2nd place Rush on April 27th. Additionally, should Vancouver lose on Sunday, the Mammoth would clinch a berth in the NLL Playoffs.