A last-minute empty net goal by Tom Phair sparked a massive, bench-clearing brawl Friday night as the Colorado Mammoth beat the Albany Attack, 19-16 in front of 18,207 fans at Pepsi Center.
With 58 seconds left in the game, Phair?s goal was answered by a cross-check from Albany goalie Rob Blasdell. The subsequent fight left the field strewn with sticks and helmets.
The win keeps the 7-7 Mammoth in the playoff hunt.
On a night when Gary Gait?s pursuit of his own National Lacrosse League scoring record would likely be the big story, the fight and a Mammoth performance from Brian Langtry turned out to be bigger news. Gait scored twice, bringing his total for the season to 54 and edging closer to the NLL record of 57.
But, Langtry led Mammoth scoring with 4 goals and 5 assists.
?Tonight?s game was the high of my career,? Langtry said. ?This is the best place I?ve ever played, these fans are awesome.?
Colorado kicked off the night?s scoring bonanza by outgunning the visitors 3-1 in the first 5:41. Al Truant scored on the first shot of the game 42 seconds into the game. Defenseman Brian Reese and John Gallant added to the total. The Attack roared back with five of the next six goals to end the first quarter with a 6-4 advantage.
Gait ignited the Mammoth early in the second quarter with a goal 58 seconds in, shrugging off a defender to give himself enough space to drive home his first goal of the night. Ted Dowling answered an Attack goal five seconds later when he took advantage of a two-on-one and snuck a shot past Attack goalie Blasdell. In the next three minutes Ben Prepchuk and Langtry added goals to give Colorado its second lead of the night. The last five minutes saw two Albany goals but Josh Sims again tied the game at 1:47 to set up a 9-9 second half.
The offenses settled down in the third quarter with both sides exchanging three goals. Del Halladay, Phair and Prepchuk contributed the home team?s goals. Prepchuk?s goal was set up by a faked shot passed behind-the-back from Langtry. A 12-12 score ended the quarter.
The fourth quarter saw the game see-saw with the Mammoth and Attack trading goals including goals from Langtry and Ted Dowling. The Attack got the next two goals. Langtry got his hat trick at 5:25 on his own rebound.
A rapid-fire succession of three goals in 61 seconds by Langtry, Gait and Truant put the Mammoth up 18-15. The Attack got it?s last goals of the game at 1:13. Phair?s empty net goal finished the game?s scoring ? but not the fireworks.
?It was nice to see the brawl at the end,? said Colorado Mammoth head coach Jamie Batley. ?They?re fighting for this team and the organization.?