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Mammoth Routs Stealth 18 6 To Clinch West

03/25/2004, 2:54pm EST
By National Lacrosse League

The Colorado Mammoth defeated the San Jose Stealth, 18-6, in front of a sellout crowd at Pepsi Center. The victory clinched the West Division Title for the Mammoth (12-3), and was a historic night as Gary Gait became the first player in the league's history to eclipse the 1,000-point milestone. The Stealth will look to put the loss behind them quickly, as they return home to host the Anaheim Storm tonight at 7:30pm Pacific. San Jose (7-5), Calgary (7-5) and Arizona (6-7) are battling for the two remaining playoff spots in the West Division.

With 11:27 left in Friday night's game, Colorado Mammoth captain Gary Gait - already a legend in the sport of lacrosse - added to his legacy by becoming the first player in National Lacrosse League history to score 1,000 points.

Gait, the NLL's all-time scoring leader, scored six goals and added two assists to lead the Mammoth to an 18-6 victory over the San Jose Stealth at Pepsi Center.

The Western Division-clinching victory earned the Mammoth (12-3) a first-round bye in the Champion's Cup playoffs and guaranteed it a home game in the NLL semifinals. San Jose (7-5) fell into a tie with Calgary (7-5) for second place in the division.

Gait's six goals - the same amount scored by the entire Stealth team - gave him 49 for the season and 557 for his career. His two assists gave him 36 for the season and 445 for his career for a total of 1,002 points.

The Mammoth tied a single-game franchise record with 18 goals and won by the largest margin of victory (12) in any NLL game this season. The crowd of 18,274 was the fifth consecutive sellout for the Mammoth this year, as the team set an NLL record for most sold out games in one season with five.

"This has been 14 years in the making," Gait said. "I couldn't have done it without the other guys on the floor.

"I'm not overly sentimental, but it's great to have 18,000-plus fans chanting your name."

Gait's banner night and the record-setting crowd weren't the only highlights, however. Jay Jalbert returned after missing four games with a broken wrist to score three goals and Tom Phair, playing his first game for the Mammoth this season after being traded from Anaheim, scored his first goal of the year. Mammoth forward Del Halladay continued his strong play with two goals, giving him 22 on the season. And, NLL points leader Gavin Prout tallied six assists, followed by Brad Self with five assists.

Brian Langtry also added a pair of goals to give him 23 for the year and Scott Stapleford, John Wilson, Josh Sims and Ben Prepchuk each scored once. Mammoth goaltender Gee Nash earned the victory with 25 saves and San Jose's Rob Blasdell made 20 saves and took the loss. He was relieved by Brandon Miller, who made 14 saves. Mike Regan and Dan Teat led the Stealth with two goals apiece.

The Mammoth took a 3-2 lead in the first quarter on goals by Langtry, Halladay and Stapleford before breaking it open in the second. Gait scored three times in the quarter and Jalbert scored the first of his three goals to help put the Mammoth up 8-4 at halftime.

The celebration neared as the Mammoth outscored San Jose 4-0 in the third quarter, including Gait's 999th point on the assist of Langtry's second goal. Following goals by Prepchuk and Halladay to open the fourth quarter, Gait brought the crowd to its feet with his fourth goal of the game and 1,000th point of his career. Officials stopped the game as the standing ovation carried on and fans chanted "Ga-ry, Ga-ry!" Gait walked to the middle of the field and saluted fans in all areas of the arena as Mammoth and Stealth players applauded.

Gait then added two more goals to finish the Colorado scoring and send the Mammoth flying into its final game of the regular season next Saturday night against the Anaheim Storm at Pepsi Center.

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